Write and Wrong: Rethinking the Way We Communicate Health-Care Decisions
Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 31, Pp. 1015-1043, 1999
Posted: 31 Aug 1999
Much of modern American law is based on the unarticulated premise that the best way to record human arrangements is to reduce them to writing. But documents have inherent limitations and are not always the best means of communicating information. The weaknesses of documents are particularly apparent in the context of health-care decision-making. Advance medical directives ? known colloquially as living wills and health-care proxies ? create substantial problems precisely because their existence on paper makes them unattractive to potential consumers and ill-suited to the realities of medical practice. Professor Gallanis analyzes these problems and proposes a solution: amending the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act to enable states to experiment with non-documentary advance directives, such as bracelets to be worn on the wrist or "smart" ID cards to be carried in the wallet or purse.
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