The surrogate decision-makers’ dilemma

My lede:

Choosing treatments for patients who cannot do so for themselves puts surrogate decision-makers in an unenviable position. The situation requires that physicians navigate a careful path in offering recommendations while respecting surrogates’ and patients’ wishes, according to two recent medical journal articles.

“Data have shown that the stress of being a surrogate decision-maker is equivalent to the kind of scores people get on psychological instruments when their house just burned down,” said Daniel P. Sulmasy, MD, PhD, co-author of a Nov. 3 commentary on surrogate decision-making in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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