By Charles F. McKhann
Drawing on in-depth interviews with those who have been demise and with the physicians who cared for them, in addition to on his personal reviews as a doctor, Dr. Charles McKhann argues persuasively that physician-assisted loss of life can be made legally on hand lower than convinced situations.
Read or Download A Time to Die: The Place for Physician Assistance PDF
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Extra info for A Time to Die: The Place for Physician Assistance
But devices could certainly < previous page page_21 next page > < previous page page_22 next page > Page 22 be developed that would be set up by the physician but activated by the patienteven by blinking an eye two or three timesso that technically the final step would be assisted suicide. Organ Failure Patients with pulmonary or renal failure can now be supported for indefinite lengths of time by appropriate equipment. Their lives can also be cut short by discontinuing the technical supportin about a week after ceasing dialysis or a few minutes after stopping respiratory support.
These and many other forces contribute to the current disagreement over assisted dying. The essence of the question is power. As the opposing forces of patient autonomy and physician paternalism seek a new balance point, the important question with respect to assisted dying will be who should have the last word, who should be the gatekeeperthe patient who requests assistance, the physician who is asked to provide it, or the state that wishes to supervise it? 26 In the quest for a maximum level of self-determination, we should not lose sight of the fact that state approval of assisted dying will be coupled with requirements and restrictions.
Several components should be included in a sound and rational decision-making process: 1. One should have the ability to understand and assess the illness itself as the cause of the suffering that is to be ended. Closely related is the < previous page page_46 next page > < previous page page_47 next page > Page 47 ability to understand and weigh all of the alternatives to earlier death, including further treatment, comfort care, or hospice. 2. A rational decision should involve some understanding of the impact an elective, earlier death would have on family and close friends.