The Importance of Being Important: Euthanasia and Critical Interests in Dworkin's Life's Dominion

Utilitas 7 (2):301 (1995)
Near the beginning of the last chapter of Life's Dominion, Ronald Dworkin expounds the following problem. Margo has Alzheimer's disease. She suffers from ‘serious and permanent dementia’. It transpires that some years ago, at a time when she was mentally fully competent, Margo executed an advance directive. In this formal document she expressed her wishes concerning what should happen to her if she were to develop Alzheimer's. Should those wishes now be acceded to? For instance, suppose that in her document Margo directed that she should not receive treatment for any life-threatening illness she might contract. Should a doctor therefore now refrain from such treatment? What if, more than this, Margo indicated in her will that after the definitive onset of Alzheimer's ‘she should be killed as soon and as painlessly as possible’? Could it possibly be right to grant that request?
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820800002119
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