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Surrogate Decision Making - Essay Example

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One of the basic foundations of medical ethics is the tradition of informed consent. It requires that a patient be fully informed of the procedure, its advantages, and the risks that may be involved. This allows the patient to make an informed decision and give their consent to any medical operation…
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Surrogate Decision Making
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Download file to see previous pages A patient that is unable to give their consent due to their physical or mental limitations will require a surrogate. If a person were in a state of unconsciousness they would be unable to grant consent. If the patient were deemed incompetent to make an informed decision, this case would also require a surrogate. Comatose patients on life support are in the position of having someone else make their medical decisions for them. If a patient is incapacitated or incompetent, the decision is left to a responsible surrogate in a process called vicarious consent.
If an incapacitated patient has a written document such as a living will or power of attorney, this can serve as a surrogate. In the absence of any document individual states have recommended protocols for the hierarchy of decision making. Generally the immediate family is the first to be considered. The spouse, parents, siblings, adult children, or a guardian may all be called upon to be a surrogate. If none of these are available, a close friend can act as a surrogate. The surrogate should be close enough to the patient that they not only act on their best behalf, but also are able to consider the incapacitated patient's wishes.
There may be cases where there are no surrogates available. People who have no family or friends can be referred to a medical ethics committee to act as a surrogate. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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