END-OF-LIFE ISSUES: AMA Ethics Board Has 4-Step Process
The American Medical Association's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs released a four-step mediation process to resolve disputes about the course of end of life care. Appearing in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, the panel writes that ideally, doctor and patient -- "or a responsible family member or friend" -- would reach a prior understanding "about what care would be considered futile and what treatment falls within acceptable limits." Then a decision would be made at bedside "by the parties based on the success of treatment, and a consultant would be brought in to facilitate discussion. The hospital's ethics committee would then examine the case, "making sure to give the patient or family member a full voice in the decision." If all parties cannot agree to a course of action, the patient could be transferred to another physician or facility (Reuters/FOX News, 3/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.