Alan Meisel On HuffPostLive: Who Gets To Decide When To End Life Support?
Pitt Law Professor Alan Meisel, an expert on end-of-life decision making, participated in a Feb. 23 HuffPostLive webcast hosted by Nancy Redd, titled Who Gets to Decide When to End Live Support? Meisel and three other experts, including one entertainment editor, discussed the controversy surrounding the case of Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown, who is on life support after being found unconscious in her Georgia home, and attempted to answer the question, “As the media speculates over [Bobbi Kristina’s] condition, who should get to decide when to take a patient off life support?”
Asked about the ethics surrounding continuing or discontinuing life support for a family member, Meisel commented, “Of course it’s most helpful if there is a living will, but there need not be a living will in order to make decisions for another person. … What we seek to do is to find out what the patient would have wanted under these circumstances. [In a case] where there is no information whatsoever, what is supposed to happen—according to the law—is that the person making the decision is supposed to do what’s in the best interest of the patient by weighing the benefits of the treatment against the burdens of the treatment.”