In Re Edna MF: Case Law Confusion in Surrogate Decision Making
Shapiro, Robyn S.
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. 1999 Jan; 20(1): 45-54.
I review the recent case of Edna Folz, a 73 year-old woman who was suffering through the end stages of very advanced Alzheimer's dementia when her case was adjudicated by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I consider this case as an example of how courts are increasingly misinterpreting the ethical and legal decision-making-standards known as "substituted judgment" and "best interests" and thereby threatening individuals' treatment decision-making rights as developed by other courts over the past two decades and creating serious roadblocks to health-care providers' ability to render appropriate patient care. The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that Edna's legal guardian could not authorize withdrawal of Edna's treatment, ruling that as a matter of law, if an incompetent person is not in a persistent vegetative state, it is not in his or her best interests for life-sustaining treatment to be withdrawn unless (s)he has executed an advance directive or other statement clearly indicating his or her desires.
Advance Directives; Allowing to Die; Artificial Feeding; Competence; Constitutional Law; Consent; Decision Making; Dementia; Equal Protection; Freedom; Guardians; Health; Informed Consent; Judicial Action; Law; Legal Aspects; Legal Guardians; Legal Rights; Life; Patient Care; Persistent Vegetative State; Review; Rights; Risks and Benefits; Standards; Suffering; Substituted Judgment; Surrogate Decision Making; Terminally Ill; Withholding Treatment;
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