Stopping Unwanted Medical Treatment

Treatments for certain health conditions or to prolong life, such as use of a ventilator, a feeding tube, IV hydration, antibiotics or other medications and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can be refused or stopped at any time.

Sometimes, more treatment is helpful, but it can also unnecessarily prolong the dying process and increase suffering without improving quality of life.

It is the right of  any of us to refuse medical treatments if we no longer wish to continue them.

Sometimes, there is a treatment such as repeated doses of antibiotics for recurrent pneumonia or some other kind of infection, and a patient might decide they no longer wish to receive repeated treatment for an illness that might lead them to a natural death.  It is important to discuss this with your family and physician, making sure they know you understand what you are asking for, and that you ask for comfort care only. Those who live in a care facility may need to work closely with staff to ensure they will honor this choice and that repeated urine tests for bladder infections and blood tests are not ordered.

End of Life Choices California provides information and personal support regarding California’s End of Life Option Act and all other legal end-of-life options to the medical community and to the public.