Should Physicians New to a Case Counsel Patients and Their Families to Change Course at the End of Life?
AMA Journal of Ethics, August 2018
Although new cancer therapies have changed the prognosis for some patients with advanced malignancies, the potential benefit for an individual patient remains difficult to predict. This uncertainty has impacted goals-of-care discussions for oncology patients during critical illness. Physicians need to have transparent discussions about end-of-life care options that explore different perspectives and acknowledge uncertainty. Considering a case of a new physician's objections to an established care plan that prioritizes comfort measures, we review physician practice variation, clinical momentum, and possible moral objections. We explore how to approach such conflict and discuss whether and when it is appropriate for physicians new to a case to challenge established goals of care.
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