Who's in Charge in the Intensive Care Unit?
Every competent patient has the right to decide what will and what will not be done to him or her.2 As one jurist put it, “Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body, and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient's consent commits an assault, for which he is liable in damages.”3 When a patient is alert, of sound mind, competent, and able to make his or her own decisions, there is no question that the physician must follow that person's directions even if the ultimate outcome — death — is not the result that the physician or health care organization desires or intends.4
KeywordsNursing Home Persistent Vegetative State Trial Court Competent Patient Durable Power
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