Friday, January 28, 2022
Dispelling Medical Misconceptions Impeding Use of Advance Instructions of Demented Patients Seeking to Hasten Their Demise
Norman L. Cantor (Rutgers University), Dispelling Medical Misconceptions Impeding Use of Advance Instructions of Demented Patients Seeking to Hasten Their Demise, 41 J. L. Med. 29 (2021):
To avoid being mired in prolonged dementia, many people prefer to hasten death via advance instructions rejecting life-sustaining medical intervention at a point of decline they have defined as unacceptable. Some health care providers resist implementation of such advance instructions, especially as to demented patients who are not ostensibly suffering and no longer recall their prior instructions or the dignity concerns that underlay them. Also, some providers refuse to deem hand feeding as a form of medical care subject to advance instructions. This article defends the legal and moral status of advance instructions as applied both to non-suffering patients and to hand feeding.