The Physician as a Health Care Proxy
Posted: 22 Oct 1999
The majority of states prohibit patients from appointing their physicians as health care proxies. These prohibitions are grounds in fears of paternalism and conflict of interest. However, the potential for conflict is not unique to physicians. Moreover, patients -- particularly individuals who do not have relatives or friends who can help with medical decisionmaking -- may have compelling reasons to appoint their physician as a proxy. Managing potential conflicts serves patients better than denying them the right to choose who will make health care decisions for them when they are no longer competent.
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