For decades, Wolters Kluwer has been publishing an annual supplement for The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking. This year, we are moving to a semi-annual plan. So, there will soon be a second 2017 update, the “2017-2 Supplement.”
Highlights of this extra supplement cover the most recent legal developments—judicial cases, legislation, and news accounts of important legal proceedings that are not officially reported—concerning end-of-life decisionmaking. Some (and there are many more) specific important matters covered in the supplement include:
- The passage of statutes authorizing medical aid-in-dying in two more states, bringing the total number of jurisdictions in which the practice is legal to seven.
- The passage of statutes explicitly criminalizing or otherwise prohibiting aid-in-dying in two more states.
- The passage of statutes authorizing default surrogate priority lists in two more states.
- An innovative Montana statute authorizing physician decisionmaking for incapacitated unrepresented patients with no surrogate, agent, or guardian.
- The passage of a statute authorizing a POLST program, bringing the total number of jurisdictions formally authorizing or regulating POLST to thirty-three.
- A Kansas statute forbidding the institution of a DNR order for a minor without consent from the parent or guardian.
- The passage of statutes in four states both forming palliative care and quality of life task forces and directing health departments to promote both professional and consumer palliative care education.
- A strong statement of support for autonomy through advance directives from the California Court of Appeals as it awarded attorneys’ fees to a governmental agency that challenged the end-of-life decisionmaking of a husband, with his wife as agent, supported by the health providers involved in his care.