Voluntary Euthanasia and the Common Law

By Margaret Otlowski | Go to book overview

3
The Position in Practice: Doctors' Practices and the Law Applied

INTRODUCTION

It is evident from the preceding chapters, that there is, in law, a significant distinction between passive and active euthanasia. The position is that passive euthanasia can in certain circumstances be lawfully performed. Conduct constituting passive euthanasia (that is, the deliberate withholding or withdrawing of life-prolonging medical treatment with the object of hastening the patient's death) is in fact, widely practised by the medical profession and accepted as legitimate medical practice.1 In sharp contrast, with the exception of the Northern Territory of Australia,2 the law treats active voluntary euthanasia as murder, regardless of the special circumstances, and it is officially condemned by the medical profession. Similarly, a doctor's active involvement in a patient's suicide is unlawful and the practice is rejected by medical organizations.3 The Hippocratic Oath is often cited as evidence of the medical profession's long tradition of opposi-

____________________
1
e.g. World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Venice on Terminal Illness ( 1983) and the WMA Declaration on Euthanasia ( 1987). For discussion of the position in: UK-- British Medical Association (BMA) Working Party Report, Euthanasia: Report of a Working Party to Review the British Medical Associations Guidance on Euthanasia ( London, 1988) 46; US--Statement of the Council of Judicial and Ethical Affairs of the AMA, Withholding or Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Medical Treatment March ( 1986), President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioural Research, Deciding to Forgo Life-Sustaining Treatment. A Report on the Ethical, Medical and Legal Issues in Treatment Decisions ( Washington, 1983); Canada-- Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Statement on Terminal Illness ( 1982) and Joint Statement on Terminal Illness ( 1984); Australia, Australian Medical Association (AMA) Draft Position Statement: Care of Severely Ill and Terminally Ill Patients ( 1996). In relation to New Zealand, see the Report of the Medical Council of New Zealand, Persistent Vegetative State and the Withdrawal of Food and Fluids ( 1993). For an international perspective see Stanley J., "The Appleton International Conference: Developing Guidelines for Decision to Forgo Life-Prolonging Medical Treatment" ( 1992) 18 Journal of Medical Ethics3.

For the purposes of this work attention is focused on the liability of doctors. It is, however, acknowledged that medical decisions to withhold treatment with the intention of hastening death will usually be made by a doctor, but in practice, are often carried out by the attending nurse.

2
The position in the Northern Territory is discussed in detail at pp. 344-59 below.
3
e.g. AMA Code of Medical Ethics and Current Opinions of the Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs, s. 2.211.

-127-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Voluntary Euthanasia and the Common Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • Contents xv
  • Table of Cases xxi
  • Introduction 01
  • 1 - Euthanasia Under the Criminal Law 12
  • 2 - Suicide and Assisted Suicide 56
  • 3 - The Position in Practice: Doctors' Practices and the Law Applied 127
  • 4 - The Euthanasia Debate 187
  • 5 - The Changing Climate for Reform 257
  • 6 - Moves Towards Reform 333
  • 7 - The Netherlands 391
  • 8 - Options for Reform 456
  • Conclusion 494
  • Appendix 503
  • Select Bibliography 520
  • Index 553
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 564

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.