Pandemic Preparedness Planning: Will Provisions for Involuntary Termination of Life Support Invite Active Euthanasia?
Berger, Jeffrey T
The Journal of clinical ethics 2010 Winter; 21(4): 308-11
A number of influential reports on influenza pandemic preparedness include recommendations for extra-autonomous decisions to withdraw mechanical ventilation from some patients, who might still benefit from this technology, when demand for ventilators exceeds supply. An unintended implication of recommendations for nonvoluntary and involuntary termination of life support is that it makes pandemic preparedness plans vulnerable to patients' claims for assisted suicide and active euthanasia. Supporters of nonvoluntary passive euthanasia need to articulate why it is both morally different and morally superior to voluntary active euthanasia if they do not wish to invite expansion of end-of-life options during health system catastrophe.
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