Right to die  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The term "right to die" refers to various issues around the death of an individual when that person could continue to live with the aid of life support, or in a diminished or enfeebled capacity. In some cases, it refers to the idea that a person with a terminal illness and in serious condition should be allowed to commit suicide before death would otherwise occur. The concept is often nicknamed, normally by supporters, dying with dignity.

In most countries in the Western world, people do not, legally speaking, have the right to die. Suicide is often frowned upon, and euthanasia is only legal in a handful of countries. In some East Asian countries, suicide may be acceptable in cases such as ritual suicide.

Most often, the idea of the right to die is related to a person's wish that caregivers allow death—for example, by not providing life support or vital medication— under certain conditions when recovery is highly unlikely or impossible. It may also refer to issues regarding physician-assisted suicide. It may be called passive euthanasia in cases where the patient is unable to make decisions about treatment. Living wills and Do Not Resuscitate orders are legal instruments that make a patient's treatment decisions known ahead of time; allowing a patient to die based on such decisions is not considered to be euthanasia. Usually these patients have also made explicit their wish to receive only palliative care to reduce pain and suffering.

Although specialized legal instruments differ from place to place, there are two more that are important in this context. The Five Wishes document allows a person to state in advance the priorities and values they wish to have honored at the end of life. And the Medical Durable Power of Attorney (or MDPOA) designates an agent to make decisions in case of incapacity, and can be used to give written guidance regarding end of life decision making. The MDPOA is generally considered to be the most powerful of all such instruments. All others may require interpretation on the part of health care providers or even court-appointed guardians; the MDPOA takes the job of interpretation out of the hands of strangers and gives it to a person selected and trusted by the individual.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Right to die" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools