Terry J. Barnett, JD
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To the Editors: Lo and Steinbrook's fine article on the Cruzan case (1) suggests troubling issues about physician consultation with hospital attorneys. The authors say "lawyers might advise caregivers . . . to disregard advance directives to withhold artificial feedings unless laws are changed or test cases are decided." They cite cases in which patients were abusively subjected to other life-sustaining procedures after the physician received legal advice. Physicians should resist legal opinions that undermine their duties to patients, including the duty to respect a patient's wish not to be subjected to life-sustaining treatment.
Hospital lawyers and physicians have fundamentally
Barnett TJ. Lawyer's Advice. Ann Intern Med. ;115:409–410. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-115-5-409_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;115(5):409-410.
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