Law and Ethics

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking Is Legal—and Ethical—for Terminally Ill Patients Looking to Hasten Death

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / June 25, 2018

Terminally ill patients with cancer will sometimes ask their clinicians for help with assisted or hastened death.1 Although palliative care and hospice care can usually address the concerns of most patients, some have physical or existential suffering that is refractory to comfort and supportiv...

Issues in Oncology
Legislation

Decision Aids Reflect Patients’ Values and Preferences for Care: So Why Aren’t More Oncologists Using Them?

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / May 10, 2018

Overwhelming evidence shows that patient decision aids, such as educational booklets, videos, or Web-based tools that take into account patients’ values and personal preferences, hold enormous promise for improving the informed consent process. Patient decision aids both reduce unwanted medic...

Issues in Oncology

How to Respond to a Patient’s Discriminatory Request for a Different Clinician

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / April 10, 2018

Some patients may make discriminatory requests for a different clinician for their health care.1-5 These individuals may want to avoid treatment with clinicians of a certain race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. Oncologists are not exempt from this type of patient behavio...

Issues in Oncology

Legal Duties of Clinicians When Terminally Ill Patients With Cancer or Their Surrogates Insist on ‘Futile’ Treatment

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / March 10, 2018

Law and Ethics in Oncology explores the legal and ethical issues oncologists must be aware of in this era of precision medicine and changing health-care policy, both to protect patients’ rights and to safeguard against potential legal jeopardy. For years, ASCO and other medical societies have lamen...

Issues in Oncology

Providing Cancer Treatment Without Patient Consent

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / February 25, 2018

Law and Ethics in Oncology explores the legal and ethical issues oncologists must be aware of in this era of precision medicine and changing health-care policy, both to protect patients’ rights and to safeguard against potential legal jeopardy. Increasingly, across the United States, hospitals are ...

Issues in Oncology
Legislation

Medical Aid in Dying: When Legal Safeguards Become Burdensome Obstacles

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / December 25, 2017

In 2017, the District of Columbia (DC) became the seventh jurisdiction in the United States to legalize medical aid in dying,1 which gives terminally ill patients the option of how and when they die. The new DC statute is nearly identical to earlier enacted medical aid in dying statutes in Cali...

Issues in Oncology

Informed Consent and the Oncologist: Legal Duties to Discuss Costs of Treatment

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD  / November 25, 2017

For 50 years, clinicians in the United States have had a legal duty to disclose to patients with cancer the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a proposed cancer treatment. Until recently, however, it has been unclear whether clinicians have a similar duty to discuss the costs of tha...

Supportive Care
Palliative Care

Ensuring Advance Directives Are Followed and Lawsuits Are Avoided

Jo Cavallo  / July 25, 2017

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, has focused his legal career on improving medical care decision-making and protecting patients’ rights at the end of life. His specific areas of legal expertise include patients’ rights, informed consent, and end-of-life medicine. Dr. Pope is the coauthor of The Ri...

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