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NCJ Number: 168521 Find in a Library
Title: Incompetent Child's Right to Have Medical Treatment Terminated When There Is Uncontroverted Evidence That Medical Assistance Is Futile
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:17  Dated:(1996)  Pages:1-31
Author(s): P M Bidari
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 31
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This comment focuses on the rights of incompetent children to decline unwanted medical treatment by allowing family members to make that decision for them.
Abstract: Cases involving an incompetent patient's right to terminate medical treatment may be approached in three ways: (1) by following the doctrine of substituted judgment, the subjective test, whereby proponents of termination prove that the patient would have chosen nontreatment had he or she been competent; (2) by adopting the limited objective test, under which treatment may be withheld or withdrawn when there is evidence the patient would have rejected treatment and it is clear that the burdens of the patient's continued life outweigh any physical, emotional or intellectual benefits; and (3) by adopting the pure objective test, whereby the burdens of living must more clearly outweigh its benefits, and the unavoidable and severe pain should be such that the effect of administering life-sustaining treatment would be inhumane. Part One of the comment examines legal standards promulgated by courts and legislatures recognizing and defining an incompetent patient's right to refuse medical treatment, and considers the subjective and objective tests. Part Two analyzes the three approaches noted above and discusses how they fail juveniles. Part Three distinguishes between barely conscious and unconscious patients. Part Four explores the limitations on the physicians' liability when they terminate treatment. Part Five argues for a presumption in favor of the family's choice, proposing that it prevail unless proven unreasonable. Notes
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Child protection laws; Involuntary treatment; Juvenile health services; Juvenile treatment methods; Laws and Statutes; Legal doctrines; Legal liability; Medicolegal considerations; Treatment
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