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HighWire Free PMC Article

J Med Ethics. 1989 Sep;15(3):129-36. doi: 10.1136/jme.15.3.129.

The Appleton Consensus: suggested international guidelines for decisions to forego medical treatment.

J M Stanley


  1. Lawrence University.

PMID: 2677379 PMCID: PMC1375803 DOI: 10.1136/jme.15.3.129
Free PMC Article


Thirty-three physicians, bioethicists, and medical economists from ten different countries met at Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, to create The Appleton Consensus: International Guidelines for Decisions to Forego Medical Treatment. The guidelines deal with four specific decision-making circumstances: 1. Five guidelines were created for decisions involving competent patients or patients who have executed an advance directive before becoming incompetent, and those guidelines fell into three categories. 2. Thirteen guidelines were created for decisions involving patients who were once competent, but are not now competent, who have not executed an advance directive. 3. Seven guidelines were created for decisions involving patients who are not now and never have been competent, for whom 'no substituted judgement' can be rendered. 4. Eleven guidelines were created for decisions involving the scarcity of medical resources, which exists in all communities. Five concepts were identified as being critical in the establishment of priorities, given the reality of scarce health resources (1). The term 'physician' is used in the American sense, synonymous with 'medical practitioner'.

Keywords: Analytical Approach; Appleton Consensus; Death and Euthanasia; Health Care and Public Health

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