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Article
April 7, 1989

Life-Sustaining Treatment: Making Decisions and Appointing a Health Care Agent

Author Affiliations

Center for Aging Studies and Services George Washington University Medical Center Washington, DC

Center for Aging Studies and Services George Washington University Medical Center Washington, DC

JAMA. 1989;261(13):1984. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420130154047
Abstract

The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law provides one of the most comprehensive yet succinct and readable accounts of legislative groundwork for advance directives in its document Life-Sustaining Treatment: Making Decisions and Appointing a Health Care Agent.

Part 1 focuses on the theory behind the proposed legislation. Informed consent, patient autonomy, patient capacity, treatment refusal, and other related issues are covered sufficiently to satisfy the ethicist, lawyer, or clinician, but not so exhaustively as to intimidate the interested layperson. Aficionados may study the detailed footnotes and learn much about the social, legal, and ethical context for treatment decisions. Others may prefer to bypass the footnotes and still capture the essence of these difficult questions. All may sense, albeit subtly, the drama that has unfolded in New York and other states that have been in the forefront in shaping policies for care of patients near the end

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