REMINDER: I AM POSTING A NEW TOPIC ABOUT ONCE A WEEK OR PERHAPS TWICE A WEEK. HOWEVER, IF YOU DON'T FIND A NEW TOPIC POSTED, THERE ARE AS OF MARCH 2013 OVER 900 TOPIC THREADS TO WHICH YOU CAN READ AND WRITE COMMENTS. I WILL BE AWARE OF EACH COMMENTARY AND MAY COME BACK WITH A REPLY.
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Aiding and Abetting a Suicide?
OK..as a segue from my last posting and as a followup on a topic I have mentioned on this blog previously, here is a real case with which I had experience.
A lady in her 30s, in jail for a prostitution charge, hung herself in the jail cell. She was brought to the hospital still alive but with severe brain damage due to the prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain before she was found (anoxic encephalopathy). The patient, of course, was comatose and couldn’t communicate and was kept alive by breathing by means of the ventilator and blood pressure sustained by IV medications. When the family arrived at the hospital the neurologist told them that the prognosis was grim and if the patient survived at all she would be severely handicapped. The family decided to have the physicians stop the life support and allow her to die. The hospital, however, was concerned that by turning off the life support, the act might be interpreted as aiding and abetting a suicide, an action which was against the hospital’s religious directives. So.. if you were the ethicist called in for consultation, what would you have advised the hospital? ..Maurice.