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March 1991 (Volume 69)
Robert F. Weir
Milbank Memorial Fund
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Medical practitioners often feel obligated to use all available procedures to sustain patients’ lives. A review of case law indicates, however, that practitioners who abate treatment that is contrary to people’s known preferences or current best interests act legally and in accordance with the highest professional standards. In the case of Nancy Cruzan, the Supreme Court delegated to the states the determination whether to respect the rights of nonautonomous patients to die with dignity. States should enact creative laws to encourage families and physicians to discuss final care, and assist people in making clear and simple statements about their preferences.
Author(s): Larry Gostin; Robert F. Weir
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Volume 69, Issue 1 (pages 143–173) Published in 1991
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.