Possible Limits to the Surrogate's Role: When a Patient Lacks Decisionmaking Capacity, Is the Surrogate's Role Absolute?

Our ethics committee is revising the organization's policy on forgoing life-sustaining treatment. The current policy now includes the statement, “When life-sustaining treatment is forgone, supportive care will be provided to relieve pain and ensure the patient's comfort, unless the patient or surrogate refuses those measures.” Is it reasonable, however, for the surrogate to have the authority to refuse consent for pain medication and/or other supportive care?
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DOI 10.1017/S0963180104211161
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