In three sections, this author explores a comprehensive overview of futility cases over the twenty five year period from 1983 to 2008. This article begins by describing a futility dispute and the informal manner in which such a dispute is usually resolved. Next, the author differentiates three types of ex ante cases regarding replacing the authorized surrogate decision-maker, obtaining declaratory relief, and the withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment (LSMT). The final section evaluates the cases brought by surrogates after LSMT is withdrawn. Ultimately, this author concludes with practical implications of the author's reassessment of the judicial treatment of futility cases.

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