Committee Opinion No. 617: End-of-Life Decision Making

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Abstract

Obstetrician–gynecologists care for women throughout their lifespans and are in an ideal position to have ongoing discussions with healthy patients about their values and wishes regarding future care and to encourage them to complete an advance directive for health care. In addition, situations may arise in which obstetrician–gynecologists need to participate in end-of-life care. When end-of-life decisions need to be made while a woman is pregnant, the level of ethical complexity often is increased. The purpose of this Committee Opinion is to discuss ethical issues related to end-of-life care, historical and legal constructs, patient–physician communication, intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration, and educational opportunities pertinent to obstetrician–gynecologists and other providers of women’s health care.

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