Medical Ethics
Michael Green
Manuel Vargas
phone, office information

27 April. Intended vs. extraordinary means
29 April. Are intentions relevant to the moral assessment of actions?
4 May. Can it be worse to have more choices?
6 May. Would it be unfair if the poor used PAS more?

Medical Ethics: 24 April. Passive and active euthanasia


The Norcross piece in the course reader provides some nice background on this subject.

Physician-assisted suicide has been in the news recently as a new survey of doctors has been released that seems to show physician-assisted suicide is rare. Does this show that the demand for physician-assisted suicide is not great? Or does it show that we need to liberalize our laws so (a) people who want it can have it or (b) doctors won't lie about doing it? The evidence is inconclusive.

Is this the real distinction?

Damion and Jesús anticipated what's to come: Sullivan will argue that the real distinction is between intentionally killing (forbidden) and ending extraordinary or useless treatment (permitted), not passive and active euthanasia.

In defense of Rachels's Smith example, he's trying to show that the bare distinction between killing and letting die is not, in itself, morally significant. He's not trying to give a parallel case to medical cases.

What's the relationship between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide?

It's voluntary active euthanasia.

  Active Passive
Voluntary Physician-assisted

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