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Posted on July 11, 2017 at 3:47 PM

Law professor James H. Pietsch has just published “Matters of the Heart – Keeping Pace with Science, Ethics, and the Law in Deactivation of Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Devices, including Pacemakers” in the Elder Law Journal.

“Pacemakers have been around for over half a century. However, despite the frequent use of pacemakers as a medical device, a decision to turn a pacemaker off can still prompt difficult legal and ethical questions.”

“This Article focuses on a ninety-one-year old retired US Navy veteran who wanted to know if he could have his pacemaker deactivated. Whether deactivating a pacemaker will immediately lead to the death of a patient is dependent on that patient’s specific heart condition but, under most circumstances, deactivating a pacemaker can be differentiated from physician-assisted suicide.”

“This Article will explore the various laws and professional guidelines that govern decisions to deactivate cardiovascular implantable electronic devices, including pacemakers, and will also explore the laws and regulations that federal health care facilities, including military medical treatment facilities, must adhere to when deciding whether to deactivate such devices.”

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