Facebook Can Improve Surrogate Decision Making

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Australian Health Law Research Center, QUT; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute


American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 12, No. 10, p. 43-45, (2012)

A significant body of empirical literature powerfully demonstrates that surrogates frequently fail to accurately and faithfully make the same treatment decisions that the patient would have made for herself, if she still had capacity (Pope, 2010). This inaccuracy is sometimes due to emotional and psychological barriers. But is also often due to the surrogate’s ignorance of the patient’s preferences. This article summarizes the challenges of using social media as well as the three opportunities it presents including (1) identify the right surrogate, (2) preventing the patient from becoming unbefriended, and (3) encouraging advance care planning.

Keywords: Surrogate, social media, technology, healthcare, death, dying, unbefriended, advance care planning, advance directive, Facebook, prospective autonomy, power of attorney, nursing homes, incapacitated

JEL Classification: K32, I1

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Date posted: September 7, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, Facebook Can Improve Surrogate Decision Making (2012). American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 12, No. 10, p. 43-45, (2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2142188

Contact Information

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)
Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )
875 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-695-7661 (Phone)
901-202-7549 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com
Australian Health Law Research Center, QUT ( email )
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Saint Georges University ( email )
West Indies
HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com
Alden March Bioethics Institute ( email )
47 New Scotland Ave
MC 153
Albany, NY 12208
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com
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