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ST Thomas University Determination of Death & Informed Consent Paper

Determination of Death / Informed Consent

After studying the course materials located on Module 6: Lecture Materials & Resources page, answer the following:

  1. Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA):
    • How this law was created
    • Legal definition of death, describe
  2. Define dying within context of faith, basic principle about human life
  3. Bioethical Analysis of Pain Management – Pain Relief
  4. What is the difference between Pain and suffering? Explain
  5. Diagnosis / Prognosis: define both.
  6. Ordinary / Extraordinary means of life support. Explain the bioethical analysis.
  7. Killing or allowing to die? Define both and explain which one is ethically correct and why?
  8. Catholic declaration on life and death; give a summary of this document: (Links to an external site.)
  9. What is free and informed consent from the Catholic perspective?
  10. Define Proxi, Surrogate
  11. Explain:
    • Advance Directives
    • Living Will
    • PoA / Durable PoA
    • DNR
  12. Read and summarize ERD paragraphs #: 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 55, 59, 61, 62. (This is the link to ERD)


Expert Solution Preview

Introduction: As a medical professor, it is important to understand the legal and ethical aspects of medical practice, including determination of death and informed consent. In this answer, I will provide a brief explanation of each of the given topics.

Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA):
The Uniform Determination of Death Act was created in 1980 to provide a consistent definition of death throughout the United States. The legal definition of death according to UDDA is “irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brainstem.” This definition is applicable to both uncontrolled and controlled environments.

Dying within context of faith:
Dying within the context of faith refers to beliefs about human life and its value, and the concept of a soul. Different faiths have varying beliefs about what happens after death. In some faiths, death is seen as a transition to another phase of existence, while in others it is seen as the end of life on earth.

Bioethical Analysis of Pain Management – Pain Relief:
Pain is a physical sensation that is unpleasant, while suffering is the mental and emotional experience related to pain. Diagnosis refers to identifying a disease or condition, while prognosis is an estimation of the probable course and outcome of the disease or condition. Ordinary means of life support refers to treatments that are reasonably expected to improve or maintain a person’s health, while extraordinary means of life support refers to treatments that are not reasonably expected to improve or maintain health and may cause undue burden or suffering. The bioethical analysis of pain management involves balancing the relief of pain against the risk of addiction, adverse effects, and potential negative consequences.

Killing or allowing to die:
Killing refers to taking an action that causes or hastens death, while allowing to die involves refraining from taking an action that would prolong life. Allowing to die is ethically correct in situations where a treatment is burdensome and unlikely to benefit the patient. Killing is generally considered unethical and illegal in medical practice.

Catholic declaration on life and death:
The Catholic declaration on life and death emphasizes the sanctity of human life and opposes actions such as abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. It affirms the importance of ordinary means of life support and encourages individuals to make their own treatment decisions based on their values and beliefs.

Free and informed consent:
Free and informed consent from the Catholic perspective requires that a person’s decision to undergo medical treatment be made without coercion and after receiving all relevant information about the benefits, risks, and alternatives.

Proxi and Surrogate:
Proxi and surrogate are terms used to describe individuals who make medical decisions on behalf of someone else. Proxi refers to a person designated by a court to make decisions for a person who is incapacitated, while surrogate refers to a person designated by the patient to make decisions on their behalf.

Advance Directives, Living Will, PoA and DNR:
Advance directives are legal documents that allow individuals to specify their medical wishes in the event they become incapacitated. A living will is a type of advance directive that outlines specific treatment preferences. A power of attorney (PoA) is a legal document in which a person designates another person to make medical decisions on their behalf. A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order is a medical order that instructs healthcare providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest.

ERD paragraphs #24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 55, 59, 61, 62 summary:
Paragraphs #24-28 of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services provide guidance on end-of-life care and emphasize the importance of maintaining the dignity of the human person. Paragraph #55 addresses pain management and encourages healthcare providers to alleviate pain while respecting the dignity of the patient. Paragraphs #59, 61, and 62 discuss the importance of free and informed consent and the rights of patients to make their own healthcare decisions based on their values and beliefs.

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