Life-Prolonging Procedures Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Life-Prolonging Procedures, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Life-Prolonging Procedures?

(n) Life prolonging procedures are the steps taken to sustain life of a critically ill person with the support of medical aids, life saving equipments etc, who otherwise will die on withdrawing the medical support.

History and Meaning of Life-Prolonging Procedures

Life-prolonging procedures refer to medical interventions, treatments, or procedures used to keep a critically ill or dying person alive temporarily. These procedures sustain the person's life artificially by using medical technology and other supports, such as mechanical ventilation or feeding tubes. Such procedures are usually administered in the intensive care unit or hospice settings, where critically ill individuals receive extensive medical care to stabilize their health.

The use of life-prolonging procedures has become increasingly common in modern medical practice as scientific and medical innovations develop. However, the decision to use these procedures should be made cautiously depending on the patient's underlying condition, age, and overall health status, as they may come with unwanted side effects and decreased quality of life.

Examples of Life-Prolonging Procedures

Here are some examples of life-prolonging procedures:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): an emergency technique used when a person's heart has stopped beating.
  • Mechanical ventilation: a life support treatment that aids breathing by delivering oxygen to the lungs through an endotracheal tube.
  • Dialysis: a medical procedure used to filter blood when the kidneys fail to function.
  • Blood transfusions: a process of receiving blood from a donor to replace lost or deficient blood components.
  • Artificial nutrition and hydration: the administration of food and fluids through a tube placed in the stomach or small intestine.

Legal Terms Similar to Life-Prolonging Procedures

Here are some related legal terms:

  • Advance Directive: legal documents allowing an individual to specify their future medical decisions when they become incapacitated or unable to communicate.
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order: a medical order that indicates a patient's wish not to undergo CPR when the heart or breathing stops.
  • Medical Power of Attorney (POA): a legal document that appoints a designated person to make medical decisions on behalf of the patient when the patient is unable to do so.