David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (3):307-324 (2009)
For the past 30 years, the Melbourne urologist Dr Rodney Syme has quietly—and more recently, not-so-quietly—assisted terminally and permanently ill people to die. This paper draws on Syme’s recent book, A Good Death: An Argument for Voluntary Euthanasia , to identify and to reflect on some important challenges to what I outline as the traditional account of law, ethics, and end of life decisions. Among the challenges Syme makes to the traditional view is his argument that physicians’ intentions are frail and unfairly expose physicians to moral and legal censure. Secondly, Syme argues that physician-assisted dying (PAD) should be framed as a form of palliative care, not as a kind of safety-chute for when palliative care fails. Thirdly, Syme himself is a rare breed: a dissident doctor who has opened himself up for scrutiny and criticism, by reflecting publicly on his experiences at the edge of the law. Syme’s career illustrates that prohibition, just like legalization, is a social policy that carries social consequences. The paper acknowledges the variability and idiosyncratic nature of extra-legal physician-assisted dying, and argues that the best way forward is to attempt to weigh the social consequences of both policies. Advocates and opponents of PAD should recognize that both prohibition and legalization involve trade-offs and impose possible costs on patients and on society.
|Keywords||Euthanasia Physician-assisted suicide Palliative sedation Criminal law Personal autonomy Withdrawing treatment Law and ethics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Tom L. Beauchamp (2009). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. Oxford University Press.
M. P. Battin, A. van Der Heide, L. Ganzini, G. van Der Wal & B. D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen (2007). Legal Physician-Assisted Dying in Oregon and the Netherlands: Evidence Concerning the Impact on Patients in "Vulnerable" Groups. Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (10):591-597.
Penney Lewis (2007). The Empirical Slippery Slope From Voluntary to Non-Voluntary Euthanasia. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 35 (1):197-210.
G. Bosshard, B. Broeckaert, D. Clark, L. J. Materstvedt, B. Gordijn & H. C. Muller-Busch (2008). A Role for Doctors in Assisted Dying? An Analysis of Legal Regulations and Medical Professional Positions in Six European Countries. Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (1):28-32.
M. Hall (2005). The Impact on Patient Trust of Legalising Physician Aid in Dying. Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (12):693-697.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Gerald Dworkin (2007). Pt. IV. The End of Life. The Definition of Death / Stuart Youngner ; The Aging Society and the Expansion of Senility: Biotechnological and Treatment Goals / Stephen Post ; Death is a Punch in the Jaw: Life-Extension and its Discontents / Felicia Nimue Ackerman ; Precedent Autonomy, Advance Directives, and End-of-Life Care / John K. Davis ; Physician-Assisted Death: The State of the Debate. [REVIEW] In Bonnie Steinbock (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics. Oxford University Press
Ronald A. Lindsay (2009). Oregon's Experience: Evaluating the Record. American Journal of Bioethics 9 (3):19 – 27.
John Keown (2002). Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument Against Legalisation. Cambridge University Press.
L. W. Sumner (2011). Assisted Death: A Study in Ethics and Law. Oxford University Press.
A. C. Rietjens Judith, J. Der Maas Pauvanl, D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen Bregje, J. M. Delden Johannevans & Agnes van der Heide (2009). Two Decades of Research on Euthanasia From the Netherlands. What Have We Learnt and What Questions Remain? Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (3).
Erich H. Loewy (1999). Physician Assisted Dying and Death with Dignity: Missed Opportunities and Prior Neglected Conditions. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2 (2):189-194.
Craig Paterson (2010). Review of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: A Natural Law Ethics Approach. [REVIEW] Ethics and Medicine 26 (1):23-4.
Peter Allmark, Mark Cobb, B. Jane Liddle & Angela Mary Tod (2010). Is the Doctrine of Double Effect Irrelevant in End-of-Life Decision Making? Nursing Philosophy 11 (3):170-177.
Timothy E. Quill (2012). Physicians Should “Assist in Suicide” When It Is Appropriate. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 40 (1):57-65.
Michael B. Gill (2009). Is the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Compatible with Good End-of-Life Care? Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (1):27-45.
Added to index2009-07-11
Total downloads19 ( #190,141 of 1,793,096 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #137,784 of 1,793,096 )
How can I increase my downloads?