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Your Voice in the Future: The Role of Advance Directives Near the End of Life

Summer 2012

Researching Law, Vol. 23, No. 3

A study done by ABF Research Professor Susan P. Shapiro found that 70 percent of Americans who require decisions about medical treatment in the final days of life lack decision-making capacity. Studies of intensive care units, where patients are much sicker, have found that of all decisions to withhold or withdraw life support, only 3 or 4 percent were made by the patients themselves; the others lacked decisional capacity. This edition of Researching Law explains how fiduciaries who act on behalf of those unable to make end-of-life decisions exercise their responsibilities.