Define and distinguish between the 4 types of Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide (Case Assignment, Session Long Project)

Discuss the link and implication of the Patient Self Determination Act relative to Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide (Case Assignment)
Describe the current state of the law regarding Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide (Session Long Project)
The Patient Self-Determination Act of 1991, a federal law, protects the rights of individuals to make decisions regarding their own health care. The act provides that each individual has a right to make decisions concerning his/her medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment. This begs the question How does a patient make decisions concerning medical care and treatment? This is where informed consent comes in…
Click here for a PowerPoint presentation on Informed Consent.
Defenses and Failure to Inform
Remember that the burden of proving the lack of informed consent is on the plaintiff. Several defenses are available to healthcare providers sued for lack of informed consent. For example, New York provides the following defenses:
The risk not disclosed is too commonly known to warrant disclosure
The patient assured the provider that he did not want to be informed of the risks or consequences of the procedure
Consent by or on behalf of a patient was not reasonably possible
The provider, after considering all factors, decided that informing the patient of the risks and consequences of the procedure would adversely affect the patients condition

It has been estimated that of the 2 million Americans who die every year, approximately 80% die in hospitals or nursing homes, and 70% of those die after a decision to forego life sustaining treatment.”
Cruzan v. Director of the Mo. Dept. of Health (1990) 497 U.S. 261, 110 S.Ct.2841.
Advances in medical technology have given us the power to prolong life. With this extension of life, many issues have surfaced raising legal concerns. Euthanasia or Mercy killing and assisted suicide remain hot topics for debate.
Traditionally, death has been defined as the Cessation of respiration, heartbeat, and certain indications of central nervous system activity such as respiration and pulsation. Blacks Law Dictionary.
With technological advances allowing us to maintain the respiration and circulation of a patient, it was necessary to rethink the definition of death. In 1974, the American Medical Association recognized that death occurs when there is Irreversible cessation of all brain function including the brain stem. This is known as Brain death.”
The significance of the definition of death is that it impacts the respective roles of the physician, patient and family as it relates to decision-making.

The following should help you remember the distinction between the four categories of euthanasia:
Active Voluntary One other than the patient brings about the death of the patient, with the patients consent. Example Overdose of morphine injected by a nurse after consent by the patient.


 

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