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October 13, 1999

Medical Futility in End-of-Life Care

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(14):1331-1332. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-14-jbk1013

To the Editor: The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA)1 report on medical futility in end-of-life care and the endorsement of process-based futility policies are significant and positive advances. The Houston City Wide Taskforce on Medical Futility,2 which was cited in the council report, has created such a process-based policy that has been adopted by a number of large Houston hospitals. We wish to clarify the reference to the Baylor Guidelines cited in the body of the report. The referenced 1995 Baylor Guidelines are actually a copy of the City Wide Taskforce guidelines, which were circulated among participating hospitals for review and comment in early 1995. While 5 of the Baylor-affiliated teaching hospitals are part of the City Wide Taskforce, the guidelines reflect the views of the entire task force, which includes many hospitals, public and private, academic and nonacademic, and religious and secular, in the greater Houston area. A full listing of the task force members is available elsewhere.2

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