By Helen Watt

In a global of fast technological advances, the ethical matters raised by means of existence and dying offerings in healthcare stay vague. existence and demise in Healthcare Ethics offers a concise, considerate and intensely available consultant to those ethical matters. Helen Watt examines, utilizing real-life instances, the diversity of decisions taken via healthcare execs, sufferers and consumers which result in the shortening of lifestyles. the subjects checked out comprise: euthanasia and withdrawal of remedy; the power vegetative country; abortion; IVF and cloning; and life-saving therapy of pregnant ladies.

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Rather, the patient may simply be exercising his or her right to determine what treatments are appropriate, in view of the benefits and burdens those treatments are expected to bring. 36 THE COMPETENT PATIENT Non-competent patients In the case of non-competent patients, of course, it is competent adults who must decide what treatments are appropriate in view of their benefits and burdens. For example, if a baby is born premature, the paediatrician must make a judgement on the extent to which intensive care is likely to benefit that baby, and on the burdens it is likely to bring.

Sometimes accepting a side-effect is reasonable; other times it is not. We are morally responsible not merely for our intentions in acting, but for the foreseen side-effects of our actions, which need to be proportionate to the good we hope to achieve. Indeed, we are responsible not merely for the side-effects we did foresee, but also (in a somewhat different way) for those we ought to have foreseen, and did not. It should also be noted that there will be some cases in which causing harm as a side-effect is just as wrong as causing it on purpose.

However, other statements by the Law Lords and lower court judges seem to suggest that Tony Bland was in some sense already dead: for example, the claim that he was ‘not living a life at all’ and the claim that his spirit had left the ‘shell’ of his body. Clearly, Tony Bland was in a highly deprived and damaged condition. To say this is not, however, to say that Tony Bland was not a living human person. 2 Rather, a human person is a bodily being—a living human ‘whole’ or organism. It is (so most of us believe) the human person who thinks, speaks, breathes and sleeps, not separate individuals only some of whom survive when certain functions are destroyed.

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