Medical Legal Directives

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Advance Directives—research and discuss the legal and ethical basis for Advance Directives such as the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Why are these documents so valuable in healthcare situations? What legal authority do these documents provide for decision making by family and/or healthcare providers? Briefly discuss a situation in which a Living Will might apply and would be of benefit to those involved. Once you have researched and discussed Advance Directives, draft a sample Living Will, indicating the type of content that should be found in such a document. Some students take this opportunity to prepare their own actual Living Will, and that certainly is encouraged. What Are Advance Directives? Advance…show more content…
It also obliges health care providers in each state to notify patients of that state's policy regarding advance directives and on the individual's right to make either instructional directives (living wills) or proxy directives (nominating an agent with durable power of attorney for health care) relating to possible future medical treatment (Kessel & Meran, 1998). The Patient Self-Determination Act also encourages patients to prepare advance directives. Ethical Basis Over the last several decades there have been dramatic developments in Western medical ethics. The form of bioethics now widely adhered to in the United States is 'principlism', an approach originally advocated by the American philosophers Beauchamp and Childress. Principlism argues that in medico-ethical dilemmas, including end of life healthcare situations, ethical principles must be applied (Kessel & Meran, 1998). The following ethical principles are related to advance directives: respect for autonomy (self-determination), non-maleficence (not inflicting harm), beneficence (doing good), and justice (some concept of fairness) (Kessel & Meran, 1998). The leading principle, Autonomy, is the fundamental standard that safeguards a patient the liberty to choose and to govern what happens to their person, in so far as those choices do not harm others. “Autonomy implies that people have an inherent right to make treatment decisions and should be active participants in their own care.” (Kessel
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