David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Bioethics 24 (9):453-460 (2010)
Conventional medical ethics and the law draw a bright line distinguishing the permitted practice of withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from the forbidden practice of active euthanasia by means of a lethal injection. When clinicians justifiably withdraw life-sustaining treatment, they allow patients to die but do not cause, intend, or have moral responsibility for, the patient's death. In contrast, physicians unjustifiably kill patients whenever they intentionally administer a lethal dose of medication. We argue that the differential moral assessment of these two practices is based on a series of moral fictions – motivated false beliefs that erroneously characterize withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in order to bring accepted end-of-life practices in line with the prevailing moral norm that doctors must never kill patients. When these moral fictions are exposed, it becomes apparent that conventional medical ethics relating to end-of-life decisions is radically mistaken
|Keywords||fictions withdrawing life‐sustaining treatment end‐of‐life decisions euthanasia|
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Citations of this work BETA
Jukka Varelius (2015). Mental Illness, Natural Death, and Non-Voluntary Passive Euthanasia. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-14.
Michael Nair-Collins & Mary A. Gerend (2015). Moral Evaluations of Organ Transplantation Influence Judgments of Death and Causation. Neuroethics 8 (3):283-297.
D. W. Brock (2015). Good Medical Ethics. Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (1):34-36.
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