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Opinion 2.17 - Quality of Life

In the making of decisions for the treatment of seriously disabled newborns or of other persons who are severely disabled by injury or illness, the primary consideration should be what is best for the individual patient and not the avoidance of a burden to the family or to society. Quality of life, as defined by the patient’s interests and values, is a factor to be considered in determining what is best for the individual. It is permissible to consider quality of life when deciding about life-sustaining treatment in accordance with Opinions 2.20, "Withholding or Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment," 2.215, "Treatment Decisions for Seriously Ill Newborns," and 2.22, "Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders." (I, III, IV)

Issued March 1981; Updated June 1994.