Futility and neurotrauma: can we make an objective assessment?

Stephen Honeybul, Kwok M Ho, Grant R Gillett, Christopher R P Lind and Susan O’Hanlon
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11485
Published online: 7 May 2012

How do decisions change if we can assess risk of “unacceptable badness”?

The concept of medical futility has been debated for many years, but a precise definition remains elusive.1-3 This is not surprising given the evolving nature of modern medicine. Progressively more complex decisions are required when considering increasingly sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Providing a simple definition as to when treatment should be withheld or withdrawn may be unrealistic.

  • Stephen Honeybul1
  • Kwok M Ho2
  • Grant R Gillett3
  • Christopher R P Lind1
  • Susan O’Hanlon1

  • 1 Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, WA.
  • 2 Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, WA.
  • 3 Otago Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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