Withdrawal of Life-Support From Patients in a Persistent Vegetative State
Lancet. 1991 Jan 12; 337(8733): 96-98.
We recently argued that doctors may sometimes be ethically justified in assisting the death of a patient with continued pain or distress caused by an incurable illness and who has expressed a clear and consistent wish for this outcome. We believe that such a policy would be unlikely to lead to the unrequested ending of the lives of patients who are unconscious or severely demented. But could there be grounds for withdrawal of life-supporting medical treatment in such patients whose condition has been diagnosed with certainty as permanent, if they have previously expressed a similar wish? Such grounds may exist in the case of patients left in a persistent vegetative state after surviving an acute brain insult because of modern resuscitation and life-sustaining treatment.
Advance Directives; Allowing to Die; Artificial Feeding; Brain; Consent; Death; Doctors; Ethics; Family Members; Illness; Legal Aspects; Life; Medical Ethics; Moral Policy; Organizations; Pain; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Physicians; Professional Organizations; Prolongation of Life; Resource Allocation; Resuscitation; Standards; Third Party Consent;
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Unknown creator (Institute of Medical Ethics (Great Britain). Working Party on the Ethics of Prolonging Life and Assisting Death, 1991-01-12)