Beyond Advance Directives -- Health Care Surrogate Laws
Menikoff, Jerry A.
Sachs, Greg A.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1992 Oct 15; 327(16): 1165-1169.
There is another approach to end-of-life decision making that may come to be more important than advance directives. This approach is gradually being adopted in state after state, with relatively little national fanfare. It consists of the statutory creation of surrogate decision makers for patients even in the absence of written advance directives....The new statutes affecting surrogacy will not make difficult decisions any easier. Because they are new, these laws will create some problems at first and will need to be modified in the light of experience. But they will at least take these decisions out of the courts or the quicksand created by legal uncertainty and return them to the families and friends of incapacitated patients, who will make the decisions in consultation with physicians. The recent attention paid to advance directives should not cause the medical community to lose sight of the benefit of these statutes, which may ultimately extend to far more people than the minority who are likely to execute advance directives. In the end, laws affecting health care surrogacy will probably have far more impact on the day-to-day practices of medicine than all the advance directives that are ever executed.
Advance Directives; Allowing to Die; Alternatives; Competence; Consensus; Consent; Consultation; Decision Making; Evaluation; Family Members; Friends; Futility; Government; Guardians; Health; Health Care; Informed Consent; Legal Aspects; Legal Guardians; Legislation; Life; Living Wills; Laws; Medicine; Patient Advocacy; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Physician's Role; Physicians; Resuscitation; Resuscitation Orders; Statutes; Terminally Ill; Third Party Consent; Uncertainty; Withholding Treatment; Wills;
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