Can life be evaluated? The jewish halachic approach vs. the quality of life approach in medical ethics: A critical view

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (2):117-137 (2000)
Abstract
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of requests formercy killings by patients and their relatives. Under certain conditions,the patient may prefer death to a life devoid of quality. In contrast to thosewho uphold this quality of life approach, those who hold the sanctity oflife approach claim that life has intrinsic value and must be preservedregardless of its quality. This essay describes these two approaches,examines their flaws, and offers a golden path between the two extremepositions.We discuss the halachic and the secular views, arguing for a balancebetween the sanctity of life and the quality of life. We argue that, indeed,such a balance exists in practice, and that life is important, but it is not sacred. Life can be evaluated, but quality of life is not the solecriterion.
Keywords quality of life  sanctity of life  concern  self-determination  indicators of humanhood  speciesist
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1009971004523
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