Death and Dying

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There are moral differences between direct intervention intended to kill a patient and an omission which allows a patient to die. Discuss.

The advancement in medicine and treatment has increased and improved allowing humans to prolong life beyond the natural capability of the body. There is no doubt that life-sustaining treatments are beneficial for patients and family members. The down side of all this is that, whereas before nature was left to take its own course it seems like someone can decide if & how long a life will be prolonged and when it will end. Therefore people are aware of a fundamental right, the right to die with dignity and without excessive intervention to impede the process. Some people are scared of having to depend on medicines to live and this is why the concept of a ‘living will’ was created. It gives the opportunity for patients to control their medical care once they are incapable of making their own decisions. Individuals have the right to reject or accept medical treatment. When a person is declared dead this meant that the patient is not breathing and the heart has stopped beating. New medical technology has helped in prolonging a life by making the heart and lungs function artificially; sometimes permitting one to recover. The heart and lungs functionality can be restored even if there is a complete and irreversible loss of all brain function with the use of artificial machinery. This has led to the proposal of a new set of clinical signs; the definition of ‘brain death’ is:‘the functionality of respiration and circulation is lost along with consciousness, thought and feelings.’ A lot of questions emerge, because with this reasoning if a person has spontaneous functioning of heart and lungs but no other vital signs are evident, then they are dead. What about people who are in a coma; those showing weak signs of “human life”; those mentally retarded or senile? Should they be considered as beings that don’t show sufficient...
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