By Charles F. McKhann
Drawing on in-depth interviews with those who have been demise and with the physicians who cared for them, in addition to on his personal reports as a doctor, Dr. Charles McKhann argues persuasively that physician-assisted death can be made legally on hand less than definite situations.
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Additional info for A Time to Die: The Place for Physician Assistance
Morphine controlled his painbut put him to sleep. He could see no reason for existing in this state until his disease finally overcame him. " These and many other forces contribute to the current disagreement over assisted dying. The essence of the question is power. As the opposing forces of patient autonomy and physician paternalism seek a new balance point, the important question with respect to assisted dying will be who should have the last word, who should be the gatekeeperthe patient who requests assistance, the physician who is asked to provide it, or the state that wishes to supervise it?
Recognizing the complexity of this issue and the wide range of our personal beliefs, a pluralistic society that claims to respect the rights of individuals should be tolerant in permitting seriously ill patients to choose freely how and when they will die. Respect for patient autonomy has been one of the major changes in the practice of medicine in recent years, rapidly replacing professional authority and paternalism. A physician's refusal to share responsibility in decision making drives some people to seek more understanding doctors.
Much legal and ethical thinking already stresses autonomy. S. Supreme Court did not consider assisted dying to be a constitutionally protected right, many people feel that the ability to choose when and where we die is indeed a right, or at least a very basic personal interest. As that view gains acceptance, the autonomy of the individual will continue to expand. Finances and Altruism Whether out of love, loyalty, or a sense of obligation, the care that families provide can be expensive and exhausting.