Let's Compare Withdrawing-Medical-Treatment and Withholding-Medical-Treatment

Withdrawing-Medical-Treatment

Withdrawing medical treatment is starting treatment, then stopping it, when it is concluded that the patient will no longer receive benefits from treatment.

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Withholding-Medical-Treatment

Treatment should never be withheld, when there is a possibility that it will benefit the patient, simply because withholding is considered to be easier than withdrawing treatment. Although emotionally it may be easier to withhold treatment than to withdraw that which has been started, there are no legal, or necessary morally relevant, differences between the two actions.

Would it be ethical to withhold effective treatments when the result is unnecessary suffering and death that costs our health care system hundreds of billions of dollars a year? The answer is obvious, yet that is exactly what occurs today in America. We know the most effective treatments for some of the deadliest diseases of our time, but millions are denied access to them. In effect, we are conducting a large experiment on our population without their consent. This happened in America once before. It is a dark stain on our scientific history that most of us would rather forget. It was the Tuskegee experiment.


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