Chapter 5.C (or 3.C) Futility
Note: Medical Futility
Betancourt v. Trinitas Hospital involved a patient in a persistent vegetative state for whom physicians wanted to write a DNR order and discontinue dialysis. Family members sought an injunction against these steps, and the N.J. trial court rejected the hospital's futility argument. While the appeal was pending, the patient died, and the court of appeals dismissed the case as moot. The court also called on the legislature, executive branch and appropriate commissions to develop policy for cases involving claims of futility. 2010 N.J. Super. LEXIS 168. Note that the New Jersey Supreme Court did not dismiss the Conroy case as moot even thought Ms. Conroy died while the appeal was pending in her case.
Note: Brain Death
In 2008, California enacted an accommodation provision much like the New York provision, to take effect on January 1, 2009. Under California law, families that have "any special religious or cultural practices or concerns" about brain death are entitled to a "reasonably brief period of accommodation." Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1254.4.
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