Why Let People Die?
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1986 Jun; 12(2): 83-86.
Gillett, a fellow in neurosurgery and in philosophy, presents a rationale for the abandonment of active medical intervention in cases of severe brain damage. His argument is based--not on consequential calculations or on social utility--but on the concept of personhood, as embodied in personal identity, quality of life, and responsibility for self. He maintains that, when the individual can no longer develop and express personality, pursue personal projects, show awareness and appreciation of life, and be morally responsible for his life and actions, then the person in an ethical sense is no longer alive. What remains is a body in which the former patient has no further interest. (KIE abstract)
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