Legal Services VP Robert Swidler Co-Authors Journal Article About DNR Orders

Robert N. Swidler, J.D.

Robert N. Swidler, vice president of legal services for St. Peter’s Health Partners, co-authored an article published in the spring 2017 issue of the New York State Bar Association Health Law Journal.

The article, titled “A Proposal to Restore Medical Futility as a Clinical Basis for DNR Order Under NY Law,” makes a case that end-of-life care would be improved by amending New York state’s existing Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) to restore the former practice of including “medical futility” as one of the alternative criteria for a physician to write a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order.

“Overall, the FHCDA has greatly improved care toward the end of life by empowering family decision-makers and establishing clear principles and procedures,” the article states. “But by attempting to create clinical criteria that could apply to all end-of-life decisions, the FHCDA forfeited the helpful specificity of the medical futility standard for DNR decisions, and thereby created problems in clinical practice.”

Click here to read the full article.

Swidler was staff counsel to the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law from 1985 to 1990, and in 2010 was appointed by the governor as a member of the Task Force. He is also editor of the New York State Bar Association Health Law Journal.

Swidler co-authored the article with Joseph J. Fins, M.D., professor and chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College, and author of the 2015 book, “Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics & The Struggle for Consciousness.”

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