Law of Death and Dying

Division of Online Learning

This course explores legal, ethical, and public policy concerns related to end-of-life legal issues and medical care. Topics covered include the cost of end-of-life care, Supreme Court end-of-life jurisprudence, advance directives and POLST, the minimally conscious state, disability, challenges at the beginning of life, futility, and physician-assisted suicide. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Articulate the relationship between Medicare reimbursement and barriers to optimal end-of-life care
  2. Explain why the Supreme Court supports state-imposed safeguards on treatment termination decision-making on behalf of incompetent patients
  3. Identify the four state’s interests that are balanced against an individual’s legal rights to refuse unwanted medical care
  4. Explain why courts might consider an additional state interest in the context of a competent person who is disabled and seeks withdrawal of life-sustaining medical interventions
  5. Explain why the Supreme Court differentiates between treatment termination and physician-assisted suicide
  6. Translate a POLST form and an advance directive into a specific treatment plan
  7. Explain the difference between a POLST form and an advance directive
  8. Explain the concept of medical futility, and offer practical suggestions on how to mediate disagreements between physicians and families over the continued provision treatment that prolongs the dying process
  9. Discuss why courts have imposed limits on physicians and parents’ decision-making powers when a baby is first delivered
  10. Discuss the safeguards in the proposed New Jersey Death with Dignity Law, and provide an overall critique of the arguments for physician-assisted suicide

The Law of Death & Dying course can be completed in just 8 weeks. Coursework must be completed in the sequence in which it is offered. You should plan to spend about 6-8 hours per week on online coursework, including reading assignments, research and writing projects, and online discussions.



Master of Science in Jurisprudence Online Degree | Open House - February 7, 2015