Ethics Encyclopedia

These literature reviews showcase ethical challenges and policy issues. They are not meant to advocate for any position.

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Patient / Surrogate Decision-Making
The Patient Self-Determination Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1990. This law makes it clear that patients have the right to make decisions regarding their medical care. It also guarantees patients the right to designate a surrogate (another person) to make treatment decisions for them if they become unable to make their own decisions.

Policy: Medical Futility
The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) recommends that all health care institutions, no matter the size, adopt a policy on medical futility.