Why Withdrawal of Life-Support for PVS Patients Is Not a Family Decision
Baron, Charles H.
Law, Medicine and Health Care. 1991 Spring-Summer; 19(1-2): 73-75.
...I suggest that it is time that we became more honest about what is really driving decision-making in PVS cases. Not to do so costs us in the form of continued maintenance of patients in those cases where families are not approached for decisions, where families refuse to consent to withdrawal of maintenance, or where there is no family available for decision-making. It costs us in terms of the discomfort caused to all parties by the use of a procedure which purports to be something it really is not. It distorts our legal system in a way which creates dangerous precedents: falsely suggesting that family members have some special power over each other which enables them generally to make life and death decisions for each other, falsely suggesting that certain kinds of evidence should be accepted generally as providing "clear and convincing" evidence of what life and death decision a person would want made for him or her. And, perhaps most important, it denies society as a whole an opportunity to know what is really going on in these very important cases so that the electorate can respond appropriately if it disagrees with the direction that they are taking.
Allowing to Die; Attitudes; Brain; Brain Death; Costs and Benefits; Consent; Death; Decision Making; Determination of Death; Diagnosis; Family Members; Life; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Physicians; Prolongation of Life; PVS; Power; Quality of Life; Right to Die; Risks and Benefits; Third Party Consent; Withholding Treatment;
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