The success of science and medical technology has led to medical brinkmanship, pushing aggressive treatment as far as it can go. But medicine lacks the precision necessary for such brinkmanship to succeed, and the resulting cycle of expectation and disappointment in technology has, in part, led to an increasing acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide, linked closely with advocacy for patient autonomy. At the opposite extreme lies medical vitalism, which refers to attempts to preserve the patient's life in and of itself without any significant hope for recovery.
University of Pittsburgh Law Review. University of Pittsburgh. School of Law
Oregon's Death with Dignity Act was first passed by a ballot initiative in 1994, but numerous judicial challenges delayed implementation of the Act. In November of 1997, following the United States Supreme Court decisions in Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg, which left the states' power to regulate physician-assisted suicide undisturbed, the Oregon voters upheld their law. Oregon remains the only state in the nation to authorize physician-assisted suicide.
This paper presents the medical practice according to the occidental philosophy (Platon, Spinoza, Kant). Relationships with the concept of "love" (eros, philia, agape) will be described, and the concept of dignity and autonomy as well. The reflection will focus on the end of life aspects. Although medicine cannot avoid morality, ethic, and deontology, it is also part of philosophy and must warrant the respect of human dignity, especially when a physician helps a patient to die.
Bioethical reflection is often raised to qualify medical treatment in relation to the concept of "dignity" of the human being. In philosophy, the concept of human dignity is used to refer to the intrinsic value of every human being but it has been framed in many different ways depending on the theoretical matrix we refer to.
The main purpose of this paper is to clarify some senses of dignity that are particularly relevant for the treatment and care of the elderly. I make a distinction between two quite different ideas of dignity, on the one hand the basic kind of dignity possessed by every human being, and on the other hand the dignity which is the result of a person's merits, whether these be inherited or achieved.
BACKGROUND: Dignity Therapy is a brief psychotherapy that can enhance a sense of legacy while addressing the emotional and existential needs of patients receiving hospice or palliative care. In Dignity Therapy, patients create a formalized "legacy" document that records their most cherished memories, their lessons learned in life, as well as their hopes and dreams for loved ones in the future. To date, this treatment has been studied for its impact on mitigating distress within hospice and palliative care populations and has provided mixed results.
Employing the tenets of philosophical materialism, this paper discusses the ethical debate surrounding assisted suicide for persons suffering end-stage Alzheimer's. It first presents a classification of the dissociative situations between "human individual" and "human person". It then moves on to discuss challenges to diagnosed persons and their caregivers in relation to the cardinal virtues of Spinozistic ethics--strength of character (fortitudo), firmness (animositas) and generosity (generositas).
In the author's experience most normal healthy adults would like to have the choice of medical help to die if they become incurably ill and find their suffering intolerable. The reasons for this are explored, based on ten years of listening and talking about the subject to a wide variety of people in many countries. The most familiar and common are the avoidance of futile suffering and the desire to retain autonomy. This paper concentrates on the dislike of losing independence and its closely associated wish to continue to behave altruistically.
Demographic development of industrial societies is determined by continuous low birth rates and increasing life expectancy. The dramatic change in generational structure will be an enormous challenge not only for the public social security systems; as an original place of inter-generational relations, family is particularly faced with increasing life expectancy and the chances and risks of longevity. Need for nursing care is such a risk of longevity, realizing that only about 3% aged between 60 and 80 are in need of care, but about 25% at the age of 80 or older.
This study analyzes data from a national survey to estimate the proportion of physicians who currently object to physician-assisted suicide (PAS), terminal sedation (TS), and withdrawal of artificial life support (WLS), and to examine associations between such objections and physician ethnicity, religious characteristics, and experience caring for dying patients. Overall, 69% of the US physicians object to PAS, 18% to TS, and 5% to WLS.