Geriatrics: Legal Issues

Geriatrics and the Law

The objective of this module is to provide information and generate discussion about legal issues associated with the health care of the elderly. Below are links to relevant legal briefs, cases, and statutes, along with links and resources for legal information relating to geriatrics.

Cases and Statutes

Americans with Disabilities Act

Barber v. Superior Court of California, 147 Cal. App. 3d 1006 (1993). (Futility and the role of physicians)

Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 110 S.Ct 284 (1990). (Refusing medical treatment for an incompetent person)

The Florida Constitution: Article I, Section 23- Right of privacy

Florida Statutes: Chapter 765- Health Care Advance Directives

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2003

Health Care Assurance Act of 2001 (type in bill number S.24)

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

In Re Baby K, 16 F.3d 590 (4th Cir. 1994). (Futility and the role of physicians)

In Re Dubreuil, 629 So. 2d 819 (Fla. 1994). (Refusing medical treatment)

In Re Guardianship of Browning, 568 So. 2d 4, 11 (Fla. 1990). (Refusing medical treatment and the role of surrogates)

In Re Quinlan, 70 N.J. 10, 355 A.2d 647 (1976). (Refusing medical treatment for an incompetent person)

Older Americans Act

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act

Patient Self-Determination Act (report provided by the General Accounting Office)

Patients’ Bill of Rights Act (type in bill number S.6)

Vacco v. Quill, 117 S. Ct. 2293 (U.S. 1997). (Physician-assisted suicide)

Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997). (Physician-assisted suicide)



The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA)

The American Bar Association’s Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly

Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association: “Abuse of Spouses, Children, Elderly Persons, and Others at Risk”

Department of Labor Issues New ERISA Claims Procedures for Health and Disability Benefits (from The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.)

ElderHope, LLC

Elder Law Resources

ElderWeb: Florida Law

Florida Health Care Association: Legislative Section

Florida State Courts

Florida Statutes Chapter 430: Elderly Affairs

National Health Law Program

National Senior Citizens Law Center

U.S. Social Security Administration


Other Resources

Kapp MB. Geriatrics and the Law: Patient Rights and Professional Responsibilities.Springer Publishing Company, 1999.

O’Hare TF. Legal issues in the care of the aged. In The Clinical Care of the Aged Person. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pp: 329-345.