The Semblance of Autonomy: Treatment of Persons with Disabilities Under the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act

Issues in Law & Medicine, Vol. 22, p. 39, 2006

42 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2015 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015

Date Written: June 8, 2006

Abstract

This Article illuminates the dangers of the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act, which provides a set of model rules designed to clarify and expedite end-of-life health-care decisionmaking for incapacitated patients. The uniform commissioners and many scholars who have commented on the Act have touted the legislation as a model for defending patient autonomy. As this Article will reveal, the impression of autonomy is an illusion. In fact, the Act privileges the perspectives of the able-bodied over those of persons with disabilities, endangers the autonomy of incapacitated patients, and empowers proxy decisionmakers who have incentives to terminate treatment. These risks have become all the more significant with the rise of managed-care programs that create pressures to minimize care.

After highlighting the serious risks to vulnerable patients under the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act, the Article offers alternative rules and stronger safeguards to better protect patient autonomy and defend against wrongful health-care decisions. This Article urges states seeking improved end-of-life health-care procedures to codify these or similar protections in order to avoid the lethal shortcomings of the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act.

Keywords: autonomy, health-care, advance directives, disabilities, statutory interpretation

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

McLeod, Marah, The Semblance of Autonomy: Treatment of Persons with Disabilities Under the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act (June 8, 2006). Issues in Law & Medicine, Vol. 22, p. 39, 2006 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2591651

Marah McLeod (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States
3127713448 (Phone)
3127713448 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
32
Abstract Views
330
PlumX Metrics