Medical futility and the burns patient.

Burns Unit, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, South Africa. Electronic address: .
Burns: journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries (Impact Factor: 1.95). 03/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.burns.2013.02.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Since its inception in the 1980s 'futility' has been a controversial concept. The history of this concept, its definition and application to burns care are discussed from the perspective of a burn surgeon. Although introduced as an objective (value-free) criterion, futility proves impossible to objectivate and judgements about the value of human life always play a role. The roles of the patient, the doctor, the 'politician' and society at large in futility-decisions are discussed.

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