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Introduction

This chapter discusses power of attorney to consent to routine medical care, guardianships, and consent to medical care for minors. The special problems of terminating and refusing life support and the issues raised by involuntary surrogate decision making are discussed in Chapter 13. Obtaining and documenting consent are inseparable activities. This is especially true when the consent is obtained from someone other than the patient. For substituted or proxy consent to be effective, the physician must know the extent of the authority of the proxy to act on behalf of the patient and the circumstances when the proxy may not act.


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