How should we respond to needs of patients who have neither decision making capacity nor identifiable surrogates? Unrepresented patients—whether homeless, disabled, elderly, or incarcerated, for example—are among our most vulnerable. This issue addresses ethical complexities of making decisions for these patients and of determining just criteria according to which such decisions are made.
When patients are unable to express their wishes and do not have surrogates or advance directives, which and whose values should inform decision making for them? We discuss ethical complexities of caring for unrepresented patients.
When an error is committed in the course of care for an unrepresented patient, how should the error be reported?
How should decisions be made for an incapacitated patient who is also unrepresented?