The Limits of Surrogates’ Moral Authority and Physician Professionalism: Can the Paradigm of Palliative Sedation Be Instructive?

Hastings Center Report 47 (1):20-23 (2017)

Abstract
With narrow exception, physicians’ treatment of incapacitated patients requires the consent of health surrogates. Although the decision-making authority of surrogates is appropriately broad, their moral authority is not without limits. Discerning these bounds is particularly germane to ethically complex treatments and has important implications for the welfare of patients, for the professional integrity of clinicians, and, in fact, for the welfare of surrogates. Palliative sedation is one such complex treatment; as such, it provides a valuable model for analyzing the scope of surrogates’ moral authority. Guidelines for palliative sedation that present it as a “last-resort” treatment for severe and intractable suffering yet require surrogate consent in order to offer it are ethically untenable, precisely because the moral limits of surrogate authority have not been considered.
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DOI 10.1002/hast.665
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References found in this work BETA

Faking It: Unnecessary Deceptions and the Slow Code.Mark R. Mercurio - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics 11 (11):17-18.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Good Death.Tia Powell & Adira Hulkower - 2017 - Hastings Center Report 47 (1):28-29.
The Theory and Practice of Surrogate Decision‐Making.David Wendler - 2017 - Hastings Center Report 47 (1):29-31.
On Patient Well‐Being and Professional Authority.Mildred Z. Solomon - 2017 - Hastings Center Report 47 (1):26-27.
Managing Conflicts Between Physicians and Surrogates.Carol Bayley - 2017 - Hastings Center Report 47 (1):24-26.

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