OBJECTIVE: To prepare the oncology nurse, under the Patient Self-Determination Act, to analyze and discuss legal and ethical issues that may arise in the clinical area when end-of-life decisions are made. DATA SOURCES: Nursing textbooks, scholarly articles, court cases, and internet publications. CONCLUSIONS: The dying patient has the right to die with dignity, respect, and the right treatment choices. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses need to understand how to implement the Patient Self-Determination Act regarding living wills, do not resuscitate orders, euthanasia, and whether or not to use feeding tubes.
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