1 minute read

Death and Dying

Defining Death In The Law, Legal Death And Missing Persons, Death Certificates, The Nature Of Dying

Death is the end of life. Dying is the process of approaching death, including the choices and actions involved in that process.

Death has always been a central concern of the law. The many legal issues related to death include laws that determine whether a death has actually occurred, as well as when and how it occurred, and whether or not another individual will be charged for having caused it. With the development of increasingly complex and powerful medical procedures and devices in the middle and late twentieth century, the U.S. legal system has had to establish rules and standards for the removal of life-sustaining medical care. This would include, for example, withdrawing an artificial respirator or a feeding tube from a comatose person, or withholding chemotherapy from a terminally ill cancer patient. Such laws and judicial decisions involve the right of individuals to refuse medical treatment—sometimes called the right to die—as well as the boundaries of that right, particularly in regard to the state's interest in protecting life and the medical profession's right to protect its standards. The issues involved in death and dying have often pitted PATIENTS' RIGHTS groups against physicians' professional organizations as each vies for control over the decision of how and when people die.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Cross‐contamination to Deed of covenant