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Overcoming Legal Impediments to Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

Title: Overcoming Legal Impediments to Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.
Name(s): Kapp, Marshall B., author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: text
Date Issued: 2016-09
Physical Form: computer
Physical Form: online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), otherwise known as the POLST paradigm, represents the next generation in end-of-life (EOL) planning for certain patients who wish to exercise prospective control over their own medical treatment in their final days. As is true for any physician treatment orders, a POLST is written in consultation with the patient or patient’s surrogate. There are a number of practical impediments to widespread adoption and implementation of the POLST paradigm in medical practice. One of these impediments has to do with some physicians’ anxiety about potential negative legal repercussions they might suffer for writing or following a patient’s POLST; this is the focus of the present article. After describing the POLST paradigm and physicians’ anxieties about it, this article argues that the feared potential negative legal consequences of writing or following a patient’s POLST are not well founded. Instead of succumbing to legal and ethical paralysis, resulting in the failure to integrate the POLST paradigm robustly into practice, physicians should feel comfortable under current and developing law to write and honor POLSTs for appropriate patients. This article explains the basis for such physician comfort.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1474465770 (IID), 10.1001/journalofethics.2016.18.09.peer1-1609 (DOI)
Keywords: end of life, EOL, living will, life-sustaining treatment
Preferred Citation: Kapp MB. Overcoming legal impediments to physician orders for life-sustaining treatment. AMA Journal of Ethics. 2016;18(9):861-868.
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: AMA Journal of Ethics.
Issue: iss. 9, vol. 18