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ETH-037: Withdrawal/Withholding of Treatment

Withdrawal/Withholding of Treatment: The Wisconsin Medical Society believes that:

  • The withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment is the decision of the patient or his/her immediate family or his/her lawful representative acting in the patient’s best interest, if the patient does not have decision-making capacity.
  • The advice and judgment of the physician or physicians involved should be readily available to the patient or his/her lawful representative or decisionmaker, if the patient does not have decision-making capacity in all such situations.
  • No physician, other licensed health care professional or hospital should be civilly or criminally liable for taking any action pursuant to these guidelines, nor should there be any criminal or civil penalties of any sort imposed for conduct pursuant to these guidelines.
  • Except as stated above, all matters not in the public domain relating to a patient’s illness are the private right of the patient and are protected from public scrutiny by the privacy and confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship.
  • It is unethical to deny a medical service solely on the basis of cost containment, if such services are deemed good medical practice. (HOD, 0418)