Wednesday, August 21, 2013
PA Court Refuses to Appoint Guardian to Override Patient Wishes
I have defended (here, here, and here) surrogate selection as a mechanism for resolving medical futility disputes. But there are certainly limits. Two of the most obvious are these. First, a surrogate cannot consent to stopping LSMT when the patient herself specifically requested it. Second, the provider should not even be turning to a surrogate when the patient still has capacity.
Remarkably, St. Luke's Hospital in Allentown, PA seems to have ignored both these limits. It tried to get the local court to appoint a guardian to consent to stopping LSMT contrary to the patient's own directions that LSMT be continued.
Not only did the hospital lose, but the court imposed sanctions for even making such an argument. That order was recently affirmed.