Legal Aspects of Oncology Care for Dying Patients
33 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 23, 2015
Patients with cancer who are approaching the end of their lives, as well as the patients’ families and professional caregivers, often confront difficult decisions regarding the initiation, continuation, withholding, or withdrawal of various forms of medical care. Those clinical choices must be made and implemented within the prevailing legal environment. The legal environment in the U.S. surrounding and shaping medical decision making and care for dying cancer patients is explored in this chapter. Specific topics addressed include: distinguishing living patients from dead bodies; informed consent and refusal; informational confidentiality in medical care; advance health care planning; medical decisionmaking in the absence of advance planning; standards of care and medical malpractice liability; limits on the rights of patients and families; and post-mortem rights and responsibilities.
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