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Medical Ethics: 4 May. Can it be worse to have more choices?
A general reply?
Does this argument work? You can't be made worse off by having more choices. If you're given a new option, you can choose not to take it.
Suppose Velleman is right: having the option of physician-assisted suicide can impose significant costs. The patient is better off without having the choice and doctors should not engage in euthanasia.
What about the converse? What about doctors who let patients die, without telling them that's what they will do? This happens with what are called "slow codes" sometimes, when treatment is hopeless and a patient goes into, say, cardiac arrest, a doctor will go through the motions of reviving the patient without actually doing so. The patient dies, but is spared the pain of being revived only to die shortly thereafter AND the pain and anxiety of having to make a decision about his own death.
Is it better this way, or should doctors always inform patients that they've been marked with a "slow code?" I don't know if Velleman would agree with slow codes, but do his arguments support them?
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