Licensing Surrogate Decision-Makers.

Published

Journal Article

As medical technology continues to improve, more people will live longer lives with multiple chronic illnesses with increasing cumulative debilitation, including cognitive dysfunction. Combined with the aging of society in most developed countries, an ever-growing number of patients will require surrogate decision-makers. While advance care planning by patients still capable of expressing their preferences about medical interventions and end-of-life care can improve the quality and accuracy of surrogate decisions, this is often not the case, not infrequently leading to demands for ineffective, inappropriate and prolonged interventions. In 1980 LaFollette called for the licensing of prospective parents, basing his argument on the harm they can do to vulnerable people (children). In this paper, I apply his arguments to surrogate decision-makers for cognitively incapacitated patients, rhetorically suggesting that we require potential surrogates to qualify for this position by demonstrating their ability to make reasonable and rational decisions for others. I employ this theoretical approach to argue that the loose criteria by which we authorize surrogates' generally unchallenged power should be reconsidered.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosoff, PM

Published Date

  • June 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 145 - 169

PubMed ID

  • 28012054

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28012054

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1572-8498

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10730-016-9316-x

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands