Can patients refuse medical treatment?
A woman named Sheryl (not her real name) contacted me recently with a question that seemed rather simple on its face, and turned out to be far more complex.
She is 60 years old and has a terminal disease, for which treatment will be debilitating and possibly painful. She has no family to help her and very little money. She asked me whether she could refuse treatment and live out her days focused on the quality of the time she has left, rather than the quantity of extra days that treatment would be intended to supply.
Seems fairly simple. In the United States, we have a right to refuse treatment. Except…