Advertisement

When the Dying Person Looks Me in the Face: An Ethics of Responsibility for Dealing With the Problem of the Patient in a Persistent Vegetative State

  • Paul Schotsmans
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 41)

Abstract

With the advance of medical technology the process of dying is often transferred to institutional settings. The purpose of my reflections is to present a Catholic, ethical framework for the care of the dying as an interhuman event. This anthropological-personalist approach implies that love, which forms the core of a Christian inspired, personalistic ethic, is not an accidental nor arbitrary invention of a particular religious revelation. On the contrary, love is rooted in the “nature” or createdness of humanity itself. The ethical task to love one’s neighbor is our very essence. I can only dedicate myself actively and consciously to my fellow human beings and to the world because I am structured, according to my essence itself, as a “being-for-the-other-than-myself” (Burggraeve, 1988). Since the Enlightenment we have grown accustomed to placing autonomy at the center of ethical reflection. Relational philosophy, was (and is) considered as being irrational, dogmatically alienating, or contrary to emancipation. Autonomy does, however, not have the first nor the last word but it exists thanks to “creatural” solidarity and is a necessary condition for the fulfillment of this solidarity in a Christian perspective. In the relational approach of the human person,person is decentralized without being alienated, as opposed to the Western notion of autonomy which automatically connects relational responsibility and alienation.

Keywords

Human Person Double Effect Persistent Vegetative State Biological Life Active Euthanasia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Apostel, L., Devroey, P. and Carnmaer, H. (eds.): 1987, Beschikken over liff en leven. Ethische vragen rond vrijheid en geborgenheid, Acco, Leuven.Google Scholar
  2. Aries, P.h.: 1977, L’ homme devant la mort, Paris.Google Scholar
  3. Aries, P.h.: 1983, Imaqes de l’ homme devant la mort, Paris.Google Scholar
  4. Beauchamp, T. L. and Childress J. F.: 1983, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Bone, E.: 1989, Dignity and Solidarity at the Edges of Life, Symposion Report, Ad Instar Manuscripti, Brussels.Google Scholar
  6. Bopp, J.: 1990, ‘Choosing death for Nancy Cruzan’, Hastings Center Report 20, nr.1, 42–44.Google Scholar
  7. Callahan, D.: 1983, ‘On feeding the dying’, Hastings Center Report 13, 22.Google Scholar
  8. Connery, J. R.: 1980, ‘Prolonging life: The duty of its limits’, Linacre Quarterly, 47, 151–165.Google Scholar
  9. Connery, J. R.: 1983, ‘The teleology of proportionate reason’, Theological Studies 44, 489–496.Google Scholar
  10. Connery, J. R.: 1986 ‘Quality of life’, Linacre Quarterly 53,31–36.Google Scholar
  11. Demeester-De Meyer, W. (ed.): 1987, Bioethica in de Jaren ‘90. 2 Vols., Omega Editions, Gent.Google Scholar
  12. De Wachter, M. A. M.: 1989, ‘Active euthanasia in the Netherlands’, The Journal of the American Medical Association 262(23), 3316–3319.Google Scholar
  13. Diekstra, R. (ed.): 1983, De zelfgekozen dood. De problematiek en de hulpverlening, Ambo, Baarn.Google Scholar
  14. Eijk, W. J.: 1987, De zelfgekozen dood naar aanleiding van een dodelijke en ongeneeslijke ziekte. Een medisch-historisch en medisch-ethisch onderzoek ten behoeve van een Rooms-Katholiek stand punt inzake euthanasie, Tabor, Brugge.Google Scholar
  15. Fenigsen, R.: 1987, Euthanasie: een weldaad?, Van Loghum Slaterus, Deventer.Google Scholar
  16. Fenigsen, R.: 1989, ‘A Case Against Dutch Euthanasia’, Hastings Center Report, A Special Supplement 19, 22–30.Google Scholar
  17. ‘Final Report of the Netherlands State Commission on Euthanasia. An English Summary’, Bioethics 1, 162–174.Google Scholar
  18. Gevers, J. K. M.: 1987, ‘Legal developments concerning active euthanasia on request in the Netherlands’, Bioethics 1, 156–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ghoos, J.: 1986, In de schaduw van de dood, Davidsfonds, Leuven.Google Scholar
  20. Häring, B.: 1973, Medical Ethics, Fides, Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  21. Jennett, B. & Plum, F.: 1972, ‘Persistent vegetative state after brain damage. A syndrome in search of a name‘, Lancet, 480–484.Google Scholar
  22. Kuhse, H.: 1987, The Sanctity-of-Life Doctrine in Medicine. A Critique, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  23. Kuhse, H. & Singer, P.: 1990, ‘Editorial’, Bioethics, 4, nr. 3, III.Google Scholar
  24. Kuitert, H. M.: 1981, Een gewenste dood. Euthanasie en zelfbeschikking als moreel en godsdienstig probleem, Ambo, Baarn.Google Scholar
  25. McCormick, R. A.: 1975, ‘A proposal for “Quality of Life” criteria for sustaining life’, Hospital Progress 56, 76–79.Google Scholar
  26. Paris, J. J. and Mc Cormick, R. A.: 1987, ‘The Catholic tradition on the use of nutrition and fluids’, America 156, 356–361.Google Scholar
  27. Ramsey, P.: 1978, Ethics at the Edges of Life: Medical and Legal Intersections, New Haven, 181–187.Google Scholar
  28. Rigter, H.: 1989, ‘Euthanasia in the Netherlands‘, Hastings Center Report. A Special Supplement 19, 31–32.Google Scholar
  29. Rolies, J. and Pijnenburg, M: 1985, ‘Euthanasie-rapport van de Nederlandse staatscommissie’, Kultuurleven 52, 847–857.Google Scholar
  30. Shannon, T. A. and Walter, J. J.: 1988, ‘The PVS patient and the forgoing/withdrawing of medical nutrition and hydration’, Theological Studies 49, 623–647.Google Scholar
  31. Steinbrook, R. and Lo, B.: 1988, ‘Artificial feeding-solid ground, not a slippery slope’, The New England Journal of Medicine 318, 286–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Van Der Wal, G. A. et al. (eds.): 1987, Ellthanasie. Knelpunten in een discussie, Ambo, Baarn.Google Scholar
  33. Veatch, R. M.: 1989, Death, Dying and the Bioloaical Revolution. Our Last Quest for Responsibility, Yale University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Verspieren, P.: 1984, Face à celui qui meurt. Euthanasie, Acharnement Thérapemiqlle, Accompagnement, Desdeé De Brouwer, Paris.Google Scholar
  35. Verspieren, P.: 1985, ‘Euthanasie. Le delot ethique’, Etudes 362, 479–492.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Schotsmans

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations