Issues recognized as having ethical or moral components are becoming increasingly common, for society in general, the health care system and for general practitioner/family physicians in particular. Some of the peculiar problems for GP's relate to the provision of continuing, comprehensive, primary medical care to large numbers of individuals who provide extensive potential for conflict between all the involved elements: patients, physicians, families, consultants and societal attitudes. There is a need for more formal education programs.
Various arguments have been given against positive euthanasia, but little attention has been given to the question of whether these arguments are uniformly effective in all contexts. There appears to be a range of cases, involving non-voluntary killing of irreversibly unconscious patients, in which these arguments do not succeed. Various reasons have been given in support of positive killing in such cases. It can be argued that there is a range of cases for which a policy of allowing positive killing (...) is morally required. However, currently there are legal obstacles to implementing such a policy. (shrink)
In December 1980 an elementary school teacher in Minnesota obtained a Restraining Order to ensure that a severely brain damaged friend would receive emergency medical care in her nursing home if she needed it. This situation focussed attention on the need for better understanding, among medical professionals and consumers alike, of the significance of a “No Dr. Blue/Do Not Resuscitate” order.
This paper will begin with a brief account of the mandate and description of the Law Reform Commission of Canada and its Protection of Life Project, secondly, point to a limitation imposed upon it by the nature of health law in Canada and, thirdly propose some basic questions which such commissions have both the luxury and the duty to wrestle with and resolve. In my view it is these fundamental challenges which ought to be the major components of the standards (...) by which national commissions such as ours are judged. (shrink)
The paper investigates the significance of the question of the fetus's status as a person for resolving the moral issues of abortion. It considers and evaluates several proposed solutions to this question. It also attempts to explain how different questions about the permissibility of abortion are appropriate to discussions at different levels of decision-making: the pregnant woman, the health professional, and the social policy level. The author's own conclusions to all these questions are offered along with other popular views.