When Suicide Prevention Becomes Brutality: The Case of Elizabeth Bouvia
Annas, George J.
Hastings Center Report. 1984 Apr; 14(2): 20-21, 46.
Annas proposes a compromise position between "simply accepting" cerebral palsy victim Elizabeth Bouvia's decision to starve to death and "violently" force feeding her. He rejects the contention that medical interventions may be forced on a non-consenting, competent adult and maintains that a physician's legal and moral duty to honor the refusal outweighs the psychological impact the suicide might have on the hospital staff, other patients, and society. Annas accepts efforts at persuasion, offers of oral nutrition, and--if legally sanctioned--a period of force feeding no longer than a week, as legitimate means with which the medical establishment can respond to Bouvia's request. (KIE abstract)
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