Euthanasia Examined: Ethical, Clinical and Legal Perspectives

Front Cover
John Keown
Cambridge University Press, Jun 19, 1997 - Medical - 340 pages
List of contributors Foreword / Daniel Callahan Introduction / John Keown 1 1 Euthanasia and the value of life / John Harris 6 2 A philosophical case against euthanasia / John Finnis 23 3 The philosophical case against the philosophical case against euthanasia / John Harris 36 4 The fragile case for euthanasia: a reply to John Harris / John Finnis 46 5 Final thoughts on final acts / John Harris 56 6 Misunderstanding the case against euthanasia: response to Harris's first reply / John Finnis 62 7 Euthanasia: back to the future / Kenneth Boyd 72 8 The case for legalising voluntary euthanasia / Jean Davies 83 9 Extracts from the Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics 96 10 Walton, Davies, Boyd and the legalization of euthanasia / Luke Gormally 113 11 Where there is hope, there is life: a view from the hospice / Robert G. Twycross 141 12 Letting vegetative patients die / Bryan Jennett 169 13 A case for sometimes tube-feeding patients in persistent vegetative state / Joseph Boyle 189 14 Dilemmas at life's end: a comparative legal perspective / Dieter Giesen 200 15 Physician-assisted suicide: the last bridge to active voluntary euthanasia / Yale Kamisar 225 16 Euthanasia in the Netherlands: sliding down the slippery slope? / John Keown 261 17 Advance directives: a legal and ethical analysis / Stuart Hornett 297 18 Theological aspects of euthanasia / Anthony Fisher 315 Index 333.
 

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Euthanasia is the termination of a very sick person’s life in order to relieve them from their sufferings. Euthanasia is derived from the Greek word euthanatos; eu, meaning good, and thanatos, meaning death. A person who undergoes euthanasia usually has an incurable condition.
It is important to emphasize the motive of benefiting the person who is assisted to die because well-being is a key value in relation to the morality of euthanasia. Those who claim that a person can be better off dead believe this to be true when the life that remains in prospect for that person has no positive value for her (Foot, 1977; McMahan 2002; Bradley 2009), the Netherlands which culminated in an agreement between the legal and medical authorities to ensure that no physician would be prosecuted for assisting a patient to die as long as certain guidelines were strictly adhered to (Griffiths, et al., 1998). The Netherlands is presently the only country in the world which euthanasia, under specific circumstances, is legally permissible.
Some of those who holds that a person’s life is sacred deny that a person can ever be better off dead (Keen in Jackson and Keown 2012). A Kant-inspired variant on this latter position has been advanced by Velleman (1999). He considers that a person’s well-being can only matter if she is of intrinsic value and so that it is impermissible to violate a person’s rational nature for the sake of her well-being. Accordingly, he holds that it is impermissible to assist someone to die who judges that she would be better off dead and competently requests assistance with dying. The only exception is when a person’s life is so degraded as to call into question her rational nature, albeit he thinks it unlikely that anyone in that position will remain competent to request assistance with dying. This position appears to be at odds with the well-established right of a competent patient to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment, at least when further treatment is refused because she considers that her life no longer has value for her and further treatment will not restore its value to her.
It is agreed that there are at least six conceptually distinct kinds of Euthanasia. Euthanasia can be passive, active, voluntary, non-involuntary, and involuntary and Physician assisted suicide. Passive euthanasia is simply allowing the person to die, either by withholding treatment or by discontinuing such treatment, once begun. This position appears to be at odds with the well-established right of a competent patient to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment, at least when further treatment is refused because she considers that her life no longer has value for her and further treatment will not restore its value to her. This is known as active euthanasia. A voluntary euthanasia – that is, with those instances of euthanasia in which a clearly competent person makes a voluntary and enduring request to be helped to die (or, by extension, when an authorised proxy makes a substituted judgment by choosing in the manner the no-longer-competent person would have chosen had he remained competent). In instances of euthanasia where a person lacks the competence at the time when a decision is to be made to request euthanasia and has not previously competently declared a preference for it via an advance directive. This is known as non-voluntary euthanasia. An example can be that of a person who is in a coma or a persistent vegetative stage. If food and fluids are withdrawn or life support is turned off, the procedure can be described as non-voluntary euthanasia. Involuntary euthanasia is where a competent person’s life is brought to an end despite an explicit expression of opposition to euthanasia, beyond saying that, no matter how honourable the perpetrator’s motive, such a death is, and ought to be, unlawful. In physician assisted suicide, the patient is the one who actually administers the deadly treatment whereas
The AMA (American Medical Association) says euthanasia is contrary to medical professional standards
 

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DUMB BOOK YOU SHOULD FIND A BETTER BOOK YOU DUMB KUNTZ

Contents

Euthanasia and the value of life
6
A philosophical case against euthanasia
23
The philosophical case against the philosophical case against euthanasia
36
The fragile case for euthanasia a reply to John Harris
46
Final thoughts on final acts
56
Misunderstanding the case against euthanasia response to Harriss first reply
62
Euthanasia back to the future
72
The case for legalising voluntary euthanasia
83
Where there is hope there is life a view from the hospice
141
Letting vegetative patients die
169
A case for sometimes tubefeeding patients in persistent vegetative state
189
Dilemmas at lifes end a comparative legal perspective
200
Physicianassisted suicide the last bridge to active voluntary euthanasia
225
Euthanasia in the Netherlands sliding down the slippery slope?
261
Advance directives a legal and ethical analysis
297
Theological aspects of euthanasia
315

Extracts from the Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics
96
Walton Davies Boyd and the legalization of euthanasia
113

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