Life Sustaining Procedure Law and Legal Definition

Generally, life sustaining procedure means any medical procedure or intervention that utilizes mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restitute, or replace a vital function, which would only serve to prolong the process of dying of an individual who has a terminal illness or injury or would only serve to prolong the individual in a permanent unconscious state.

Artificial nutrition and hydration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, and mechanical ventilation are the most commonly used life sustaining measures. Life sustaining procedure does not include the medical treatment provided to a patient that is necessary to reduce pain or to give comfort.

Many states allow preparing a living will which allows the person to execute a document that sets out some guidelines regarding life sustaining procedures.

Example of a case law on life sustaining procedure:

Life sustaining procedures are medical procedures which utilize mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore, or supplant a vital function, which serve only or primarily to prolong the moment of death, and where, in the judgment of the attending and consulting physicians, as reflected in the patient's medical records, death is imminent if such procedures are not utilized.[John F. Kennedy Mem'l Hosp. v. Bludworth, 432 So. 2d 611, 619 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983)]