Who?
Limits to Life-Sustaining Treatment


3. Designated proxy or proxies (or surrogates)

A key question here is WHO DESIGNATES the proxy or proxies?

  • the patient?
    • Formally - e.g.,through a durable power of attorney for health care
    • Informally - by asking someone to make decisions for them
  • the state?
    • parents are presumed to be the decision makers for minor children
    • some states have lists of kinship proximity that apply to decision-making when the patient is incapacitated
    • courts may appoint a guardian for a person who has been adjudged incompetent

Other Questions -

  • What checks should there be on proxy decisions?
  • Are there any limits to decisions proxies can make?
  • On what basis should proxies make their decisions?

Created by Glenn C. Graber - last updated March 8, 2003
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