End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Stop Unwanted Medical Treatment

Why should providers inflict interventions their patients don’t want?

Too many endure invasive tests and treatments in their last days and hours. Advance directives, intended to prevent unwanted treatment, are regularly ignored or overridden. It’s time to get providers to focus on what patients want and make sure they deliver it.

Our client Margaret Furlong went to the hospital at age 82 armed with her advance directive. She presented the document to the admitting doctors and relied on it to prevent invasive rescue procedures if she collapsed. But when she went into cardiac arrest, that is exactly what she got. A full code restarted her heart and lungs, and she awoke in the intensive care unit. When she pulled on the tubes, they tied her hands. When she squeezed her son’s hand and tried to tell him she wanted the machines turned off, they overrode her pleas.  

After ten days tethered to machines and tubes, Margaret’s condition continued to decline and doctors agreed to disconnect life support. Medicare paid the entire bill without ever questioning whether treatment was consistent with Margaret’s wishes, or whether it should never have happened under her advance directive.

Compassion & Choices is working to make the case that in a patient-centered model, unwanted treatment should not occur and should not be reimbursed. Our newest campaign aims to focus providers on patients, not procedures.

What can you do?

We need your help to raise awareness of this problem and make advance directives more effective. Sign our petition. Tell lawmakers they have a responsibility to the public to ensure that patients’ wishes are honored.

Download Our Unwanted Medical Treatment Literature

Unwanted Medical Treatment Toolkit

Unwanted Medical Treatment Issue Brief

Watch Our Testimony

Compassion & Choices CPO Mickey MacIntyre testifies before the Institute of Medicine on the problem of unwanted medical treatment (video)

Read Our Testimony

Ashley Carson Cottingham’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging

Recent Stories of Unwanted Treatment

End-of-Life Wishes Ignored, Lawsuit Says (video)

Daughter Is Suing LRMC and Nursing Home for Disobeying DNR Order

Family Sues Hospital for Violating Do Not Resuscitate Order

Help Compassion & Choices Stop Unwanted Treatment Today

Support our campaign to transform the entrenched system that forces so many of our loved ones to endure unwanted medical treatment by clicking here.

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Call an End of Life Consultant 800-247-7421