Unrelated 'next of kin' may lead to legal confusion

April 7, 2015 3:49 PM

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(Reuters Health) - When hospitalized patients list nonrelatives as next of kin, state laws might interfere with those patients’ wishes – and a new study suggests the situation isn’t rare.

In Connecticut, where researchers looked at medical charts of nearly 110,000 hospitalized veterans, eight percent had specified someone other than a close family member as next of kin – in conflict with the state’s “default surrogate consent” laws.

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