Debra L. Dippel


This comment focuses on the predicament of the hopelessly ill incompetent adult patient. The comment first discusses the legal framework for medical decision-making in general. Next, it examines the legal and medical distinctions between competent and incompetent patients, and the implications of those distinctions. The comment then explores the options in caring for hopelessly ill incompetent adult patients, and the persons who may or should be responsible for exercising those options. The comment also considers the bases upon which the options may be exercised. Finally, the comment contains an examination of the current state of opinion and the law on medical decision-making for hopelessly ill incompetent adult patients, and a proposal for change.