• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Questions that face dying individuals, their families, and the professionals that help them at the end of their lives are explored in this volume. The contributors help the reader to come to terms with issues of mortality complicated by the diversity of cultures within society.

Autonomy, Advance Directives, and the Patient Self-Determination Act
Autonomy, advance directives, and the patient self-determination act
James H.PietschKathryn L.Braun

This chapter addresses issues related to self-determination in medical treatment and the effect that federal and state laws have had on the way in which patients, families, and society make health care decisions. First acknowledged is a fundamental commitment within the constitutional fabric of the United States to patient autonomy and its relationship to informed consent. The chapter then discusses the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990 (PSDA), an attempt by the U.S. Congress to enhance the effectiveness of state laws governing the rights of individuals to make their own medical treatment decisions. An important component of the PSDA is the advance directive, defined in the law as a ...

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