Beyond Autonomy – Physicians' Refusal to Use Life-Prolonging Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

John J. Paris, Michael D. Schreiber, Mindy Statter, Robert Arensman, Mark Siegler

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

46 Scopus citations


Three years ago we noted that the literature on physicians' refusal to provide requested treatment was sparse1. Since that time the issue has fueled an intense, two-pronged debate – on futility and on the limits of patient autonomy. The debate over patient autonomy is a genuinely philosophical dispute; that over futility seems to be a relapse into nominalism. It is not the meaning of a word but the moral basis for the actions of the participants that ought to be the focus of our attention. The fractious debate on the meaning of futility, evidenced in a spate of recent…

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-357
Number of pages4
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 29 1993
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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