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Should patients in a persistent vegetative state be allowed to die? Guidelines for a new standard of care in Australian hospitals

journal contribution
posted on 2015-06-01, 00:00 authored by Yvette Kendal, Laura-Jane MaherLaura-Jane Maher
In this article we will be arguing in favour of legislating to protect doctors who bring about the deaths of PVS patients, regardless of whether the death is through passive means (e.g. the discontinuation of artificial feeding and respiration) or active means (e.g. through the administration of pharmaceuticals known to hasten death in end-of-life care). We will first discuss the ethical dilemmas doctors and lawmakers faced in the more famous PVS cases arising in the US and UK, before exploring what the law should be regarding such patients, particularly in Australia. We will continue by arguing in favour of allowing euthanasia in the interests of PVS patients, their families, and finally the wider community, before concluding with some suggestions for how these ethical arguments could be transformed into a set of guidelines for medical practice in this area.

History

Journal

Monash bioethics review

Volume

33

Issue

2

Pagination

148 - 166

Publisher

Springer

Location

Berlin, Germany

ISSN

1321-2753

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Springer