In a new CNN op-ed from Robert Klitzman, the Program Director for the School of Professional Studies' Master of Science in Bioethics, the case of British infant Charlie Gard raises medical questions about ethics and life support. His case has made news worldwide, with government, courts, and religious leaders weighing in on what should be the right medical path for this terminally ill infant.
"Futility is among the most difficult concepts in medicine to grasp and accept -- the fact that at a certain point, doctors cannot eliminate or reduce disease and the prospect of death becomes inevitable. In short, the best we can do is to make patients comfortable," Klitzman writes.
"In the United States, we generally let patients and their families, rather than courts, decide when to terminate life-sustaining treatment." As Gard's case went to court, England, Donald Trump, and the Vatican have all weighed in with what may be the "right" thing to do in this complicated and tragic case.
While the life of this young man divides medicine, courts, and countries, it illustrates how we need to have a plan around what experts call "a good death," where the patient can die with dignity.