How aggressively should we pursue life-sustaining treatment of the demented patient? This question becomes increasingly important as our population ages and medical technology offers ever more life-prolongation. In Life'sDominion, Ronald Dworkin addresses the issue in the context of an Alzheimer patient who had previously declared the desire to avoid life-sustaining intervention. Dworkin argues for the primacy of what he calls precedent autonomy: In 1995, the HastingsCenterReport carried thoughtful rebuttals by Daniel Callahan and Rebecca Dresser. Much of Callahan's article is devoted to patients who never executed an advance directive, but he states unequivocally that such directives can be overridden, basing much of his argument on the writings of Sanford Kadish. Together, Dresser, Callahan, and Kadish define a clear position opposed to precedent autonomy
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DOI 10.1017/s0963180199802084
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Advance Directives and the Severely Demented.Martin Harvey - 2006 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (1):47 – 64.

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