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The Criminalization of End-of-Life Care and the Emergence of ‘Clinical Forensic Medicine’
By James Farragher Campbell; John H. Fullerton
A disturbing trend has emerged involving criminal charges being levied
against family caregivers treating end-of-life (EOL) elders with
dementia. In the most common scenario, a younger family member (often
the eldest daughter) becomes the home caregiver to an elderly relative
as a result of one or more factors: (1) the family has been informed
that further hospitalization will not be provided because there is
simply nothing more medically that can be done for this patient in a
hospital setting; (2) the family does not have the monetary resources to
provide any care beyond what they can provide at home; (3) the family
desires to honor the elder’s wish to die at home without invasive
hospital-based diagnostics, treatments, or advanced technology being
utilized during the EOL phase; or (4) the family unit or the healthcare
provider is not aware of the rights of the patient and the obligations
of the treating healthcare provider surrounding proper certification
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