Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 13 (4):363-369 (2010)

The moral discourse surrounding end-of-life (EoL) decisions is highly complex, and a comparison of Germany and Israel can highlight the impact of cultural factors. The comparison shows interesting differences in how patient’s autonomy and doctor’s duties are morally and legally related to each other with respect to the withholding and withdrawing of medical treatment in EoL situations. Taking the statements of two national expert ethics committees on EoL in Israel and Germany (and their legal outcome) as an example of this discourse, we describe the similarity of their recommendations and then focus on the differences, including the balancing of ethical principles, what is identified as a problem, what social role professionals play, and the influence of history and religion. The comparison seems to show that Israel is more restrictive in relation to Germany, in contrast with previous bioethical studies in the context of the moral and legal discourse regarding the beginning of life, in which Germany was characterized as far more restrictive. We reflect on the ambivalence of the cultural reasons for this difference and its expression in various dissenting views on passive euthanasia and advance directives, and conclude with a comment on the difficulty in classifying either stance as more or less restrictive
Keywords Culture  End of life  Expert ethics committees  Doctors’ duties  German law  Living will  Israeli Law  Patients’ rights  Religion
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-010-9262-3
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References found in this work BETA

Killing and Letting Die.Bonnie Steinbock - 1982 - Ethics 92 (3):555-558.
From the Local to the Global: Bioethics and the Concept of Culture.Leigh Turner - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (3):305 – 320.
Israel: Bioethics in a Jewish-Democratic State.Michael L. Gross & Vardit Ravitsky - 2003 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 12 (3):247-255.

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Citations of this work BETA

Perspectives on Assisted Dying.David Badcott & Fuat S. Oduncu - 2010 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 13 (4):351-353.

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