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Posted on October 13, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Many patients in a variety of healthcare facilities are unrepresented. They lack decision-making capacity, and they also lack both an applicable advance directive and an available surrogate. On the other hand, many patients who “appear” unrepresented are not actually unrepresented. with With a diligent search, social workers can usually find available and willing surrogates.

Unfortunately, the search for an incapacitated patient’s family or friends is sometimes neither diligent nor timely. That is what happened to James White.

White was taken to Beaumont Hospital Dearborn (Michigan) after a car crash. He was listed as a “John Doe” even though his family says he had three forms of ID on him. Without the input of his family Doe apparently did not receive the treatment he needed, and died.

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