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  • Introduction
  • 1. Advance Care Planning
  • 2. Communicating Bad News
  • 3. Whole Patient Assessment
  • 4. Pain Management
  • 5. Assisted Suicide Debate
  • 6. Anxiety, Delirium
  • 7. Goals of Care
  • 8. Sudden Illness
  • 9. Medical Futility
  • 10. Common Symptoms
  • 11. Withholding Treatment
  • 12. Last Hours of Living
  • 13. Cultural Issues
  • 14. Religion, Spirituality
  • 15. Legal Issues
  • 16. Social and Psychological
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  • Clergy and Faith Communities
  • Additional Links
    Site Index
    Back to Module 15: Legal Issues
    Introduction to Legal Issues

    Introduction to Legal Issues

    This module will address legal perspectives on end of life care in the United States. The clear and consistent legal principles directing treatment limitation, decision-making for patients who lack capacity, the use of opioids, physician-assisted suicide, and futility are discussed. Some of these and related points are provided in a summary of "pearls" and potential "pitfalls."

    It is important to note that individual state laws can and do vary on many points, and may change. It is the individual physician’s responsibility to be familiar with current laws governing his or her practice and to seek legal counsel if a specific situation requires it. This Internet education program is delivered with the understanding that its authors and sponsors are not rendering specific legal advice to physicians.

    Objectives of this Module

    • Describe legal consensus points
    • List common legal myths and potential pitfalls