Dealing With Surrogate Conflict: A Student’s Perspective

Authors: Derek Su, MD, David A. Fleming, MD, MA


Surrogate decision making is a standard arrangement for patients who are unable or unfit to make independent healthcare decisions. Ideally, the surrogate–patient relationship would be current and meaningful, and the participants in it would have recently discussed the patient’s values, preferences, and treatment goals. For patients who have not recently been able to make independent healthcare decisions, knowing what treatment they would desire often is impossible, and conflict many times is unavoidable.

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