The Incompetent Patient on the Slippery Slope
Whitehouse, Peter J.
Hastings Center Report. 1994 Jul-Aug; 24(4): 6-12.
Most patients suffering from progressive dementia have thoughts, emotions, perspectives, and perceptions of a world of experience. Decisions about life-sustaining treatment should incorporate a principled approach to evaluating what life is like for these patients....It is an intimidating, indeed, frightening responsibility to calculate the overall value of life for another human being. It is understandable that some would prefer to avoid the calculation, erring on the side of treating all who cannot decide for themselves....We simply cannot make a defensible judgment about when life-sustaining treatment would advance an incompetent patient's interest without attempting to ascertain that patient's subjective reality.
Aged; Allowing to Die; Beneficence; Communication; Competence; Consent; Decision Making; Dementia; Emotions; Empathy; Evaluation; Family Members; Informed Consent; Life; Methods; Moral Policy; Patients; Prolongation of Life; Psychological Stress; Risks and Benefits; Social Interaction; Standards; Suffering; Third Party Consent; Value of Life; Values;
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