Medicolegal aspects

Richard Pawl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Part 1: Introduction: Discussing the law in the context of cardiovascular resuscitation would seem to involve a small number of topics. Most commonly, one might consider the malpractice consequences of negligence in the conduct of medical personnel performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation for a dying patient. Certainly, malpractice law is a legal aspect of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Yet, because of the nature of the act of CPR, it rarely, alone, becomes the focus of malpractice litigation. Most commonly, malpractice litigation focuses upon the alleged malpractice that leads up to a patient 's resuscitation. However, when the resuscitative efforts of medical professionals are the focus of a malpractice suit, the legal theories may be similar to those one may find in other malpractice litigation (e.g., negligent administration of drugs or negligently performing procedures) to more unique causes of action that arise from the resuscitation of a patient with Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders, such as the wrongful life legal complaint when the patient designated as a “DNR patient” is successfully resuscitated. Indeed, the more one delves into topics related to the law and CPR, the more one finds that to do adequate justice to the topic one must study the bioethics of death and dying and the evolution of advanced directives and how they apply to all patients - competent and incompetent alike. Because the law relating to death and dying is at the cusp of the interface between bioethics and the law, one must also pursue an understanding of the evolution of our laws as they relate to personhood, self-autonomy, and privacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCardiac Arrest
Subtitle of host publicationThe Science and Practice of Resuscitation Medicine
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780511544828
ISBN (Print)05218470041, 9780521847001
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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