Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer 1997), pp. 249-293


In this article, Professors Larson and Eaton assess the merits and shortcomings of the Patient Self-Determination Act. The article first traces the legislative history and policy behind the Act. The article then traces and analyzes many of the empirical studies designed to assess the Act and the Act's effect on the use of advance directives. The authors determine that the Act has been, at best, a "modest success." They conclude that the use of advance directives will remain limited and that alternative methods of providing for health treatment decisions, such as empowering physicians to act on incompetents' behalf, will have to be made.