Saturday, January 1, 2011

Will Selecting Surrogate Decision-Makers for Dying Patients Reduce Futile Care Disputes?

Thaddeus Pope -- ya'll know I'm a fan -- has a new article in the St. Louis Journal of Health Law and Policy addressing the selection of health care proxies, or surrogates, as a means of preventing futile care disputes. When parties surrounding a dying patient disagree about what medical treatments to pursue, if any, law suits can ensue. Pope examines the use of surrogates to reduce the chance of these conflicts, citing both benefits and detriments, and gives us a summary of state laws.

William Colby, the lawyer for Nancy Cruzan's family, writes in Unplugged that the definition of death has changed so drastically in such a short span of time that laws, hospital best practices, and the public, forced to reckon with these changes, have not been able to keep up. Pope's work is always a reminder that the issues surrounding patients' rights and futile care are not straight-forward or simple and that they are constantly evolving.

You can read the full article here

You can read the abstract at Pope's site, Medical Futility Blog


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2 Comments:

Blogger Thaddeus Mason Pope, J.D., Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the plug. In this, and in a forthcoming article on voluntary dehydration, my aim is to show that CURRENT LAW actually allows pretty good results. The law is often the problem, standing in the way of care that is wanted, that is better. But other times, the law already actually allows or even demends such results.

January 4, 2011 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Ann Neumann said...

Thanks for the clarification, Thaddeus. Very much looking forward to the voluntary dehydration piece.

January 4, 2011 at 8:36 PM  

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