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Max Watson

, Rachel Campbell

, Nandini Vallath

, Stephen Ward

, and Jo Wells

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date: 22 August 2019

This chapter describes covers the legal and professional standards of care required in palliative medicine, including the Mental Capacity Act, lasting power of attorney, and restraint or deprivation of liberty. Medicine frequently poses complex situations that as clinicians can challenge our understanding of the legal and ethical framework we work within. The legal framework is structured to protect patients and doctors, and provide guidance in dealing with what can sometimes be unclear and difficult situations. In addition, doctors, like all other healthcare professionals, work in an increasingly litigious and legally regulated environment. Sadly, for both patients and doctors, at times a simple failure by doctors to appreciate the nature and extent of their legal and professional responsibilities can lead to significant medico-legal problems. Furthermore, clinical negligence is covered, including landmark cases in medical litigation. The process for death certification and referral to the coroner is covered, and fitness to drive DVLA requirements are explained. Plans for travelling abroad during the end of life, donor requirements, and a selection of useful resources for patients and laboratory reference values are included.

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