A basic tenet of Anglo - American law is the principle of informed consent.
This doctrine is based on patient self determination as well as the right of the patient to receive information that is material to making a decision to consent to a medical treatment or procedure.
Informed consent is based on the physician’s duty to tell the truth about the patient’s medical condition, prognosis, proposed procedure and treatment as well as the benefit and risks of the treatment and alternatives if any including that of no treatment.
At the end-of-life, even life sustaining treatment requires patient consent. If patients refuse treatment, the consequences of that refusal should be disclosed.
When life-sustaining treatment is started, the burden and benefits must be discussed with the patient and family and they must also be informed that if ineffective, treatment may be stopped.
Derse AR. Legal and Ethical Issues in the United States. Emanuel LL, Librach SL (Ed). Palliative Care – Core Skills and Clinical Competencies. Second Edition, St.Louis, Missouri, Elsevier, 2011, pp.343-352.