The Treatment That Leaves Something to Luck
Decisions at the end of life are particularly difficult and a huge number of factors can go towards justifying or unjustifying a particular course of action. In this chapter I want to focus in on what is becoming a legally accepted practice and ask whether a distinction which seems to underlie the legal principle can in fact be supported on good philosophical grounds. The distinction relates to allowing incompetent patients to die and the difference between such omissions and directly killing similar patients. The discussion also has implications for the related issue of respecting the right of competent patients to refuse treatment/have treatment withdrawn and how respect for this right compares with cases where competent patients request assistance in dying.
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