advance directive

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advance directive

a declaration by a person in relation to medical treatment (usually to instruct that it stop) to provide for a situation in which he might himself be unable to comment, e.g. the so-called living will. The US Supreme Court established the right for a person to refuse medical treatment, which in the case of a comatose patient can be difficult to establish. This is an issue that is troubling most legal systems because it raises moral, philosophical and practical questions. In the UK the directive is legally effective because treatment requires consent. It need not be in writing. It cannot, however, compel doctors to cease treatment so as to mercy-kill or provide treatment which they do not consider to be in the best interests of the patient.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although most people initially think otherwise, the law in most states does not allow an advance health care directive to tie one's hands.
To avoid the confusion that surrounds the Schiavo family, pitting spouses against parents, California residents must sign a document known as an Advance Health Care Directive.
The painful lesson couldn't be more clear: You can spare your loved ones the anguish that's tearing Schiavo's family apart by filling out an advance health care directive outlining who you want making decisions on your behalf and when you want your end-of-life care to end.
One of the easiest and most efficient means of obtaining consent is to have inmates execute an advance health care directive before they become incompetent.
Many states have developed standard advance health care directive forms that allow the principal to designate specific procedures that the principal wants withheld or withdrawn.
Among the legal documents that people need to have are a properly-executed durable power of attorney, a will and a living will or advance health care directive.

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