512 Medicine and Law

This 2-credit seminar considers the application of law to medicine and the tensions that arise as a result, both in practice and as these tensions implicate differences between medical ethics and legal norms. The topics covered will include the history and modern status of medical ethics rules and the institutions that govern and operationalize them; medical privacy in the HIPAA context; clinical research and the consent process; the (medical malpractice) standard of care and medical errors; scarce resources including medicines and organs; infectious disease (e.g., Ebola) protocols; living wills and medical powers of attorney; the concept of medical "futility"; and choosing and defining death.

Grades will be based on class preparedness and participation including one-page reflection papers due before most class sessions, and a final research paper. In total, students will turn in ten reflection papers, i.e., one for each of ten of the thirteen class sessions. Final papers for those not taking the class for writing credit must be 20-25 pages in length. Final papers for those taking the class for writing credit must be between 25 and 30 pages in length and must otherwise comply with the requirements for obtaining such credit.

It is recommended that students take this course in conjunction with Law 524, Health and Medical Research for Lawyers, a one-credit advanced research seminar which emphasizes the topics covered in this course, i.e., in Law 512.
Course Areas of Practice
Course Type
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.