Advance Treatment Directives and Autonomy for Incompetent Patients: An International Comparative Survey of Law and Practice with Special Attention to the Netherlands

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In the framework of an international comparative legal survey, this monograph makes available reliable information on the practice of advance treatment directive and their role in medical decision making. Using survey research and focusing on the Netherlands, this work offers on the topic empirical evidence, which was previously lacking, especially for European literature.


“In the literature on advance directives, there is often considerable confusion about which of the four sorts of directives is being discussed, and one of Vezzoni’s contributions in this book is to bring some terminological clarity to the discussion.” – Prof. John Griffiths, University of Groningen

“In the turmoil of a priori opinions on advance directives Vezzoni offers an outlook which deserves to be accurately taken into account for sociological inquiries and for legislative work as well.” – Prof. Tito Ballarino, University of Padua

“. . . an original and important contribution.” – Prof. Paolo Segatti, Universita degli Studi di Milano

"There is considerable confusion in the literature about advance treatment directives. Via an international survey of the legal status of such directives for patients deemed incompetent, and an analysis of their frequency and role in medical decision-making in the Netherlands, Vezzoni (political sociology, U. of Milan; PhD, sociology of law, U. of Groningen) clarifies the terminology and processes involved. Following an overview of the growing demand for and debates over directives and his analytic framework, he concludes that this legal right needs social and policy supports for optimal implementation. One major difference with the US is that in the Netherlands, patients may specify their preference for euthanasia. Methodological notes conclude the monograph." - Book News

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
Foreword by John Griffiths
Introduction: Autonomy for Incompetent Patients and Advance Directives
Part I: Legal Status and Social Practice of Treatment Directives: The Development of an Analytical Framework
1. The Legal Status of Treatment Directives: An International Survey
2. The Social Practice of Treatment Directives: Overview of the Empirical Literature and Development of a Systematic Analytic Framework
Part II: Treatment Directives in the Netherlands
3. Legal and Empirical Information Concerning Treatment Directives in the Netherlands
4. Empirical Analysis of the Social Practice of Treatment Directives
5. The Role of Notaries in the Social Practice of Treatment Directives
6. The Role of Nursing Home Doctors in the Social Practice of Treatment Directives
7. The Role of Family Doctors in the Social Practice of Treatment Directives
8. Conclusions
Methodological Appendix

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