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More on the Issue of Killing vs Letting Die
Back on October 14 2006, I had a posting
about a case of a quadriplegic who required the ventilator for survival but finally wanted it turned off. The issue was if the physicians or others turned off the ventilator would this represent a killing or letting the patient die of his underlying paralysis. Patients have a legal and ethical right to terminate unwanted treatment.
I wanted today to present another killing vs letting die situation for consideration. Cardiac pacemakers are inserted into patients whose heart cannot beat without electrical assistance or on its own beats so slowly that the patient is very symptomatic and if not improved the patient may die from stroke or heart failure.
There are two case scenarios discussed at the American Medical Association’s Virtual Mentor (link 1
, link 2
) which deal with the issue of the ethics involved in turning off cardiac pacemakers. Read them, return and indicate whether you feel that removing a device attached to preserve the life of a patient who would otherwise die is an intentional killing act such as euthanasia or murder. ..Maurice.