What is futile medical treatment?
futile medical treatment is Treatment that is usually considered unable to produce the desired benefit either because it cannot achieve its physiological aim or because the burdens of the treatment are considered to outweigh the benefits for the particular individual. There are necessary value judgements involved in coming to an assessment of futility. These judgements must consider the individual’s, or proxy’s, assessment of worthwhile outcome. They should also take into account the medical practitioner or other provider’s perception of intent in treatment. They may also take into account community and institutional standards, which in turn may have used physiological or functional outcome measures.
source: A GLOSSARY OF TERMS FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE AND SERVICES FOR OLDER PERSONS. World Health Organization, 2004.