American Journal of Law & Medicine

Medical decision on behalf of incompetent patients: Federal Court upholds law allowing medical decisions for incompetent patients - Doe ex rel. Tarlow v. District of Columbia.

Medical Decision on Behalf of Incompetent Patients: Federal Court Upholds Law Allowing Medical Decisions for Incompetent Patients--Doe ex re. Tarlow v. District of Columbia (1)--The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that a District of Columbia policy (the "Policy"), which provides that the wishes of an incompetent patient need not be taken into account by the person charged with making medical decisions on behalf of the patient, is consistent with District of Columbia statutory law, procedural due process, and substantive due process. (2)

The plaintiffs represented a class of intellectually disabled persons who live in District of Columbia facilities and receive medical services from the District of Columbia. (3) They have never had the mental capacity to make medical decisions for themselves. (4)

The Policy at issue was adopted in 2003 by the District of Columbia Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration ("MRDDA") to regulate the medical care of intellectually disabled persons in the District of Columbia. …

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