Applying best interests to persistent vegetative state--a principled distortion?

Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (2):86-92 (1998)
"Best interests" is widely accepted as the appropriate foundation principle for medico-legal decisions concerning treatment withdrawal from patients in persistent vegetative state (PVS). Its application appears to progress logically from earlier use regarding legally incompetent patients. This author argues, however, that such confidence in the relevance of the principle of best interests to PVS is misplaced, and that current construction in this context is questionable on four specific grounds. Furthermore, it is argued that the resulting legal inconsistency is distorting both the principle itself and, more particularly, individual patient interests
Keywords info:mesh/Persistent Vegetative State  info:mesh/Decision Making  info:mesh/Withholding Treatment  Humans   Persistent Vegetative State   Euthanasia, Active   Withholding Treatment   Risk Assessment   Intention   Decision Making   Resource Allocation   Judicial Role   Patient Advocacy   Ethics, Medical  info:mesh/Judicial Role  info:mesh/Patient Advocacy  info:mesh/Euthanasia, Active  info:mesh/Humans  info:mesh/Ethics, Medical  info:mesh/Intention  info:mesh/Risk Assessment  info:mesh/Resource Allocation
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DOI 10.1136/jme.24.2.86
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