The Role of State Legislatures After Cruzan: What Can -- and Should -- State Legislatures Do?
Law, Medicine and Health Care. 1991 Spring-Summer; 19(1-2): 83-90.
...The Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act and the Massachusetts Health Care Proxy statute are the best examples of existing legislative responses providing a method for exercising the right to refuse unwanted life-sustaining medical treatment. A comprehensive statute, providing for a proxy appointment, for personal written instruction and validating decision-making by families and close friends in the absence of written appointments or instructions would combine the best of the two. Such a statute would permit an agent's authority, written instructions or surrogate's authority to become effective upon determination of the patient's lack of decision-making capacity in health care matters. The statute would contain no other limitations on the powers. Such a model is currently in process of being drafted. Legislatures should be considering these options. Also of importance is legislative and national debate on the treatment to be given to permanently unconscious patients whose personal wishes are not or cannot be known. Clear practice guidelines in this area would avoid inclusion of hidden values in decision-making for permanently unconscious patients.
Advance Directives; Allowing to Die; Artificial Feeding; Competence; Consent; Decision Making; Family Members; Friends; Government; Government Regulation; Guidelines; Guardians; Health; Health Care; Legal Aspects; Legal Guardians; Legislation; Life; Living Wills; Model Legislation; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Practice Guidelines; Proxy; Public Policy; Regulation; Right to Die; Rights; Risks and Benefits; Standards; State Government; Terminally Ill; Third Party Consent; Treatment Refusal; Values; Withholding Treatment; Wills;
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