Does it make clinical sense to equate terminally ill patients who require life-sustaining interventions with those who do not ?
Two US courts of appeals have ruled that competent, terminally ill patients have a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide.
The cases are now before the US Supreme Court, which is expected to issue a ruling later this year.
This article analyzes the keystone of the courts'ruling : their assertion that competent, terminally ill patients who are being kept alive on life support are equivalent to competent, terminally ill patients who do not require such support.
Because the former are permitted to end their lives by refusing treatment, the courts found that the latter also have a right to determine the time and manner of their death, through prescriptions for lethal doses of medication.
This article analyzes whether the courts'thinking is premised on a clinically plausible view of the care of terminally ill patients.
Based on a discussion of common situations involving terminal illness, we argue that the courts'reasoning is deeply flawed.
The article also analyzes how the implications of the courts'reasoning might undermine the care of terminally ill patients.
Mots-clés Pascal : Euthanasie, Homme, Ethique, Législation, Juridiction judiciaire, Etats Unis, Amérique du Nord, Amérique, Stade terminal, Relation médecin malade
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Euthanasia, Human, Ethics, Legislation, Judicial jurisdiction, United States, North America, America, Terminal stage, Physician patient relation
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 97-0340014
Code Inist : 002B31. Création : 12/09/1997.