Killing and Allowing to Die by Daniel Callahan
2. Do you agree with Callahan that the power of the physician much be used "only to cure or comfort, never to kill"?
Callahan spends his essay noting the differences between killing a person and allowing them to die. He creates three separate fields that distinguish why allowing a person to die is not killing them. Metaphysically, Morally, and Medically, the two types of death are not equal in manner. Callahan highlights some of these differences primarily by blame or fault. "We can, then, be responsible for the death of another by intending that they die and accomplish that end by standing aside and allowing them to die (72)". Either way the subject meets the same fate, it just makes a difference as to how they meet that fate.
A physician's job is to care for and cure his or her patients in the way he or she sees fit. Callahan discuses the knowledge of the human body that is obtained by physicians and how they use it. " They are also given great privileges in making use of that knowledge (73)." Although physicians have knowledge and privileges, they are not all high and mighty. Their goal is to do their very best in for each patient while also considering the patient's personal wants. For example, the Do Not Resuscitate order is an option that physicians have to take into account when their patients are undergoing a life threatening medial treatment. In that way, the physician is not responsible for the death of the patient and it can't possible be said that the physician killed the patient. In all actuality, the patient signed a contract saying it is okay that they die while under the physician's care.
However, some may say that the patient's life wouldn't be in jeopardy if the physician's ability to maintain the life of their patient was guaranteed. Callahan argues that it is not the physicians fault if someone dies under their watch or asks to be taken off of...