Informed consent is the process by which patients are educated about the elements of a medical choice and/or procedure and then make an informed, knowledgeable, and voluntary decision about the health care they are to receive (or refuse).
The Patient Self-Determination Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1990. This law makes it clear that patients have the right to make decisions regarding their medical care. It also guarantees patients the right to designate a surrogate (another person) to make treatment decisions for them if they become unable to make their own decisions.
The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) recommends that all health care institutions, no matter the size, adopt a policy on medical futility.