Sixty hospitals began halting life-sustaining
treatments for patients who want to end their lives naturally, Sunday.
Republican lawmakers have filed amendments to Senate Bill 200 that would limit medical professionals' abilities to override patients' advance directives or their families' wishes to continue life-sustaining
It said: "If the extension of my life would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning, then I do not desire any form of life-sustaining
Though the Rasouli decision is primarily concerned with the withdrawal of treatment under the HCCA, this article examines the issue of withholding potentially life-sustaining
treatment as it is discussed in the Rasouli decision.
Senate Bill 1887 also known as the "Natural Death Act" filed by Santiago provides that any person of legal age and sound mind may execute a written instruction, "directing the witholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining
treatment in a terminal condition or permanent unconscious condition.
A POLST form differs from the DNR form for it includes directions about life-sustaining
measures; such as intubation, antibiotic use, feeding tubes and if organs are to be donated.
End-of-life medical decision-making is complex and is further complicated by the uncertainty of whether physicians require patient consent to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining
treatment a physician deems inappropriate.
In the 1976 landmark case of Karen Ann Quinlan, the New Jersey court underscored the fundamental right of a young woman in a persistent vegetative state to forgo life-sustaining
support with a mechanical ventilator.
All persons may forgo life-sustaining
treatment including artificial nutrition and hydration.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson found the 32-year-old from Wales, who can't be named for legal reasons, "lacked capacity" to make a decision about life-sustaining
However, it is important to note that dying in a critical care unit is often associated with a decision to discontinue the use of life-sustaining
technology (Keenan, Mawdsley, Plotkin, Webster, & Priestap, 2000; Kjeruf, Regehr, Popova, & Baker, 2005; van Rooyen, Elfick, & Strumpher, 2005).
As a result, patients' preferences regarding life-sustaining
treatment were poorly or incompletely communicated to the healthcare team.