Letting and Making Death Happen: Is There Really No Difference? the Problem of Moral Linkage
Journal of Medical Humanities. 1990 Summer; 11(2): 81-90.
While there may be no inherent moral distinction between withholding and withdrawing care, the two decisions have traditionally been perceived in different lights; the courts treat them differently; and they appear different to many clinicians. They are morally linked to other areteic considerations which, though theoretically separable from acts and decisions examined out of context, are not always separable in any practical way. In that sense, and within the realities of clinical practice, withholding and withdrawing care are not the same. The conditions under which one decision is justifiable may differ substantially from the conditions which license the other. And given the idea of moral linkage, withholding care may be allowable under circumstances in which withdrawing care is not....[W]ith respect to decisions regarding the withdrawal or the withholding of life support, one must not assume that there is necessarily any moral difference between these two acts. One must not think that withholding care is somehow an act of lesser moral significance.
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Letting and Making Death Happen, Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Support: Morally Irrelevant Distinctions Gratton, Claude (1990)The author argues that there is no morally relevant distinction between letting and making death happen, and between withholding and withdrawing life-support. There is a discussion of possible adverse consequences in ...