Palliative sedation, foregoing life-sustaining treatment, and aid-in-dying: what is the difference?

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (3):197-213 (2015)
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After a review of terminology, I identify—in addition to Margaret Battin’s list of five primary arguments for and against aid-in-dying—the argument from functional equivalence as another primary argument. I introduce a novel way to approach this argument based on Bernard Lonergan’s generalized empirical method. Then I proceed on the basis of GEM to distinguish palliative sedation, palliative sedation to unconsciousness when prognosis is less than two weeks, and foregoing life-sustaining treatment from aid-in-dying. I conclude that aid-in-dying must be justified on its own merits and not on the basis of these well-established palliative care practices; and that societies must decide, in weighing the merits of aid-in-dying, whether or not to make the judgment that no life is better than life-like-this part of their operative value structure



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Patrick Daly
Boston College

References found in this work

Nicomachean ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1998 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Michael Pakaluk.
Summa Theologiae (1265-1273).Thomas Aquinas - 1911 - Edited by John Mortensen & Enrique Alarcón.
Voluntary active euthanasia.Dan W. Brock - 1992 - Hastings Center Report 22 (2):10-22.
Doing away with double effect.Alison McIntyre - 2001 - Ethics 111 (2):219-255.

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