The Journal of Clinical Ethics




Ralph Baergen and William Woodhouse, “Surrogates and Extra-Familial Interests,” The Journal of Clinical Ethics 24, no. 4 (Winter 2013): 332-7.



      A case is presented in which the therapeutic interests of the patient conflict with the safety of a community, and in which the surrogate decision maker has very limited knowledge of or concern for the patient’s preferences. The substituted judgment and best interest (or rational patient) standards for surrogate decision making are problematic in this case. It is argued that the interests of even those outside the family ought to be taken seriously when making decisions about such cases, and it is proposed that clinical ethics committees could play a new role here. This case also illustrates the difficulties of making decisions regarding the treatment of a very unlikable patient.



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