A false sense of security: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) surrogate health care decision-making rights

Lance Wahlert, Autumn Fiester
Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine: JABFM 2013, 26 (6): 802-4
This article addresses the timely and ethically problematic issue of surrogate decision-making rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients and their families in the American health care system. Despite multiple pro-LGBT recommendations that have been released in recent years by the Obama administration, the Institute of Medicine, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, such initiatives, while laudable, also have unfortunately occasioned a "false sense of security" for many LGBT patients, their families, and their caregivers. In particular, new regulations on surrogate decision making merely invoke a sense of universal patient rights rather than actually generating them. Therefore, it is imperative that primary care physicians urge all LGBT patients to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their loved ones by naming proxy decision makers well before the crises that would necessitate such decisions.

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