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Law and Court Decision Making

The law presumes that medical decision making will take place in the clinical setting without judicial participation. Medical decision making is ordinarily a private matter between the physician and the patient and, in some cases, the patient's family. There is no general legal requirement that medical decision making be judicially supervised.

One reason is practical: If there were such a requirement, both the courts and medical practice would come to a grinding halt. Another reason is jurisprudential: The legal system in the United States is adversarial, which means that first there must be a controversy before the participation of courts can occur, and one party to that controversy must seek the involvement of the judicial system. In practice, the vast range of medical decision-making matters do ...

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