Medical Futility and the Texas Advance Directives Act of 1999.
A new law regulating many decisions related to end-of-life care in Texas went into effect on September 1, 1999. Members of the Baylor University Medical Center Institutional Ethics Committee were instrumental in developing this new statute, which in many ways is groundbreaking and unique. The purpose of this article is to examine how one part of this new law, that dealing with medical futility, impacts medical practice. The following case study illustrates both the problem of medical futility and the response required of physicians and institutions under the new law. The concept of medical futility is briefly explored, and the impact of the new law on the case study is analyzed.