Volume 14, Issue 4, Winter 2014
Ralph A. Capone, MD, Julie Grimstad
Futile-Care Theory in Practice
A Look at the Law in Texas
Examination of the bioethical concept of futile-care theory reveals its deleterious effects on patients when put into practice. Futile-care policies and laws unilaterally locate health care decision making in persons and committees other than the patient and his surrogate(s). Although not voluntarily ceded by the patient, this authority is assumed by third parties whose interests and goals do not contribute to the material and spiritual flourishing of the individual patient. A prime example is the Texas medical futility law, which blatantly disregards the natural right of patients to decide the course of their own health care. Christians are called on to oppose this unprecedented assault on human dignity, freedom, and life itself. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 14.4 (Winter 2014): 619–624.