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Ambiguity about end-of-life wishes can lead to conflict among decision-makers

Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 10:48 AM | By Mandy England

When expressing end-of-life wishes in a health care directive, clients often want to include a general clause leaving it up to their appointed decision-maker to determine whether care should be withdrawn. Generality does serve a purpose, as it is impossible to foresee every possible scenario. However, it can also lead to conflicts about whether that discretion is being appropriately exercised.

Three cases provide examples of conflicts stemming from confusion about the incapable person’s wishes and concerns about the decisions being made on their behalf.

In the...