Dilemmas Surrounding Passive Euthanasia -- a Malaysian Perspective
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2005 September; 24(3): 605-613
In western societies where the principle of autonomy is jealously guarded, perhaps active euthanasia is more often the focus of public concern and debates rather than any other forms of euthanasia. However due to the advance in technology and its corresponding ability in prolonging life, in Malaysia passive euthanasia presents more of a dilemma. For those concerned and involved with end of life decision-making, it is generally agreed that this is an area fraught with not only medical but legal and ethical issues. In Malaysia where the society is not homogenous but is multi-cultural and multi-religious, in addition to medical, legal and ethical issues, religious principles and cultural norms further impact and play significant roles in end of life decision- making. This paper seeks to identify the issues surrounding the practice of passive euthanasia in Malaysia. It will be shown that despite applicable legal provisions, current practice of the medical profession combined with religious and cultural values together affect decision-making which involves the withholding and/or withdrawing of life-saving treatment.
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