Friday, March 4, 2011

Medical Surrogates?

So, I looked through my email today, and I received a notice about a study on the emotional effects of medical surrogacy. That got me to wondering what exactly a medical surrogate was how did they have emotional effects from whatever they did. Apparently, medical surrogates are much like durable power of attorneys; they can make medical decisions for you when you're rendered incapable through illness, senility, etc. The need for medical surrogates arises as you have an aging population with limited decision making abilities.

The majority of research on medical surrogates deals with emotional ramifications, as I mentioned earlier. Think about it.....your mother has been losing mental capacity over the past year, with her ability to take care of herself declining at an alarming speed over the past few months. She has you as her medical surrogate, making medical decisions for her. Flash forward to 3 years later when she has developed an insufficiency to take in nutrients. She'll be on a feeding tube for the rest of her life. What kind of decision would you make? Would you hook her up to the tube, knowing she'll be attached to it for the rest of her life? Do you forgo the feeding tube in order to let nature take its course? Will you be ok with the decision 5 years from now if it ends up taking her life?

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