2006 New Hampshire Statutes - Section 137-H:2 Definitions.


    In this chapter:
    I. ""Attending physician'' means the physician selected by or assigned to the patient who has primary responsibility for the treatment and care of the patient.
    II. ""Life-sustaining procedures'' means any medical procedure or intervention which utilizes mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore, or supplant a vital function, which, in the written judgment of the attending physician and a consulting physician, when applied to the qualified patient, would serve only to artificially postpone the moment of death, and where, in the written judgment of the attending physician and the consulting physician, the patient is in a terminal condition or is permanently unconscious. ""Life-sustaining procedures'' shall not include the administration of medication, sustenance, or the performance of any medical procedure deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.
    III. ""Living will'' means a document which, when duly executed, contains the express direction that no life-sustaining procedures be taken when the person executing said document is in a terminal condition or is permanently unconscious, without hope of recovery from such condition and is unable to actively participate in the decision-making process.
    IV. ""Physician'' means a medical doctor licensed to practice in the state of New Hampshire pursuant to RSA 329.
    V. ""Qualified patient'' means a patient who has executed a declaration in accordance with this chapter and who has been diagnosed and certified in writing to be in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious by 2 physicians who have personally examined the patient, one of whom shall be the attending physician.
    VI. ""Terminal condition'' means an incurable condition caused by injury, disease, or illness which is such that death is imminent and the application of life-sustaining measures would, within the reasonable medical judgment of the attending physician and a consulting physician, only postpone the moment of death.
    VII. ""Permanently unconscious'' means a lasting condition, indefinitely and without change, in which thought, awareness of self and environment, and all other indicia of consciousness are absent as determined by the attending physician and a consulting physician.
    VIII. ""Artificial nutrition and hydration'' means invasive procedures such as but not limited to the following: nasogastric tubes; gastrostomy tubes; intravenous feeding or hydration; and hyperalimentation. It shall not include sustenance.
    IX. ""Sustenance'' means the natural ingestion of food or fluids by eating and drinking.

Source. 1985, 157:1. 1991, 239:3-5, eff. June 10, 1991.

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