Respect for autonomy, advance directives, and minimally conscious state

Bioethics 25 (9):505-515 (2011)
Abstract
In this article, I consider whether the advance directive of a person in minimally conscious state ought to be adhered to when its prescriptions conflict with her current wishes. I argue that an advance directive can have moral significance after its issuer has succumbed to minimally conscious state. I also defend the view that the patient can still have a significant degree of autonomy. Consequently, I conclude that her advance directive ought not to be applied. Then I briefly assess whether considerations pertaining to respecting the patient's autonomy could still require obedience to the desire expressed in her advance directive and arrive at a negative answer
Keywords minimally conscious state  disorder of consciousness  patient  advance directive  autonomy
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