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Table 2 Major historical events in end-of-life care in the USA [11,12]

From: End-of-life considerations in the ICU in Japan: ethical and legal perspectives

Year Name of case Issues Importance
1914 Schloendorff vs. Society of New York Hospitals Surgical intervention was performed despite withholding of consent by a patient Competent patients have a right to determine their therapeutic intervention and informed consent is required before the intervention
1969    The concept of living will was introduced by Luis Kutner, an Illinois lawyer
1976 Karen Quinlan Withdrawal of mechanical ventilation from a patient in a vegetative state Competent patients have a right to refuse interventions, and this can be applied by surrogates under the principle of substantial judgment if a patient becomes incompetent
1976 California State - The Natural Death Act allowed withdrawal of life-sustaining support
1983 Barber vs. Superior Court Withdrawal of mechanical ventilation from a vegetative patient at the request of the patient's family Surrogates can refuse interventions on behalf of patients, based on the patient's best interests
1985 Claire Conroy The right of a patients' guardian to stop artificial nutrition Treatment that does not benefit or causes harm to the patient should not be continued based on humanitarian reasons in situations where the patient's wishes for end-of-life care are not known
1990 Cruzan vs. the Missouri Department of Health Withdrawal of care from an incompetent patient who had prior wishes States can set the level of evidence required to determine the prior wishes of incompetent patients with which surrogate decisions are made.
1990 US government - The Patient Self-Determination Act obligated medical insurance organization and medical facilities to update the status of advance directives in patient's medical charts on admission to hospice, hospital or nursing home
2005 Terri Schiavo case How to define family and how to proceed with end-of-life care decisions if members of the immediate family are not in agreement The US District Court in Florida denied the emergency request signed by the US President to reinsert the feeding tube