Mediation and surrogate decision-making for LGBTQ families in the absence of an advance directive : comment on "Ethical challenges in end-of-life care for GLBTI individuals" by Colleen Cartwright

J Bioeth Inq. 2012 Sep;9(3):365-7. doi: 10.1007/s11673-012-9387-6. Epub 2012 Aug 1.


In this commentary on a clinical ethics case pertaining to a same-sex couple that does not have explicit surrogate decision-making or hospital-visitation rights (in the face of objections from the family-of-origin of one of the queer partners), the authors invoke contemporary legal and policy standards on LGBTQ health care in the United States and abroad. Given this historical moment in which some clinical rights are guaranteed for LGBTQ families whilst others are in transition, the authors advocate for the implementation of clinical ethics mediation as the soundest and most humane form of resolution in matters where there is a dispute between family members about an incapacitated loved one. They argue that clinical ethics mediation is an ideal alternative solution because it works toward consensus about outcome, even where consensus about values is not achievable.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female*
  • Humans
  • Terminal Care / legislation & jurisprudence*