Bouvia paper - Daniel Zauderer Elizabeth Bouvia: A Right to...

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Daniel Zauderer Elizabeth Bouvia: A Right to Die? The case of Elizabeth Bouvia is a fundamental one in Medical Ethics, as it promotes consideration of moral issues at the forefront of the medical world today. Bouvia, a victim of cerebral palsy, was confined to her bed for the rest of her life. She suffered from, in her point of view, emotional and physical pain that had diminished the quality of her life to a degree that it was hopeless and worthless. As such, Bouvia requested that a hospital assist her in starving to death. The hospital refused, sparking an ongoing national debate. Bouvia trumpeted her “right to die,” while the hospital argued that it could not voluntarily assist in the suicide of a patient in an institution that promotes life. It seems that two primary and closely related moral issues emerge from this case. The first stems from Bouvia’s claim that she has the right to die: do severely disabled, non-terminally ill patients with an arguably low quality of life possess the right to commit suicide? The second stems from the hospital’s refusal to assist Bouvia: Should hospitals have an obligation to assist in the suicide of severely disabled, non-terminally ill patients with an arguably low quality of life? Although the questions are related, there exists a sharp distinction between the two. One concerns a patient’s professed right while the other concerns the hospital’s duty in regard to such a right. In response to the first issue, I believe it is clear that Bouvia has the right to end
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Bouvia paper - Daniel Zauderer Elizabeth Bouvia: A Right to...

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