February+20-22 - Current Moral Problems Lectures February...

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Current Moral Problems Lectures  February 20 - 22 Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide Introduction A Case From Rachels’ Essay A patient is dying of incurable cancer Fifty years ago, not much could be done to postpone the patient’s death Now, much can be done, including CPR if his heart stops Mechanical ventilation if he stops breathing Dialysis if his kidneys stop functioning Tube feeding if he can’t eat or drink Forgoing Life-Sustaining Treatment Forgoing life-sustaining treatment: withholding or withdrawing treatment: Withholding treatment: Treatment is not started For example: CPR is withheld when it is not given to a patient who has suffered cardiac  arrest Withdrawing treatment: Treatment that has been started is later stopped For example: A patient’s ventilator is turned off Forgoing Treatment: Euthanasia? The patient who is dying of incurable cancer dies after dialysis is withheld or withdrawn Is this  passive euthanasia ? Passive Euthanasia: A Conceptual Analysis The patient dies after treatment is withheld or withdrawn. Treatment is deliberately withheld or withdrawn. The intent is to hasten death Treatment is forgone for the sake of the patient (to respect her wishes and/or promote her  best interests) 1
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The Patient Dies After Treatment Is Withheld or Withdrawn Euthanasia occurs only when a patient dies. If the patient fails to die and if all the other conditions are satisfied, the action can be  characterized as  attempted  (passive) euthanasia. Treatment Is Deliberately Withheld or Withdrawn This condition is necessary to distinguish passive euthanasia from accidental death,  negligence, etc. Example: An orderly unplugs what he believes is a desk lamp to enable him to plug in a 
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February+20-22 - Current Moral Problems Lectures February...

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