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open access

Vol 7, No 3 (2008)
Review articles
Published online: 2008-10-10
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Abandoning overzealous therapy as a realisation of rights of the dying

Wojciech Bołoz
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2008;7(3):93-99.

open access

Vol 7, No 3 (2008)
Review articles
Published online: 2008-10-10

Abstract

The discussion on the right of the patient to "die with dignity" has been going on in the USA and Europe for 30 years. It focuses mostly on the following questions: 1. What is "death in dignity"?; 2. Is man entitled to die in dignity, and if so, on what basis? 3. In what manner should we realise the right to die in dignity? The concept of "death with dignity" is conditioned by anthropological assumptions and tends to be understood as euthanasia or demise that maintains the personal and social integrity. The right to death is favoured by the principle of autonomy, but it is contradicted by the inviolable nature of the right to life, which can neither be renounced nor can anyone be deprived of it, even in the situation of a terminal disease. The terminally ill and the dying do not cease to be humans; they still have their own personal dignity that every man is entitled to, and the human rights that originate from it and protect them in their particular situation. Therefore, such people have the right to be respected, to recognise their autonomy and to the truth. The rights of a dying person guarantee that they are treated with dignity when they have a terminal disease and that they can die with dignity. These rights demand that the dying are:
- treated as persons until death;
- provided with information concerning their health and part of the decision-making process; enable them to refuse the therapies, which prolong the agony.

Abstract

The discussion on the right of the patient to "die with dignity" has been going on in the USA and Europe for 30 years. It focuses mostly on the following questions: 1. What is "death in dignity"?; 2. Is man entitled to die in dignity, and if so, on what basis? 3. In what manner should we realise the right to die in dignity? The concept of "death with dignity" is conditioned by anthropological assumptions and tends to be understood as euthanasia or demise that maintains the personal and social integrity. The right to death is favoured by the principle of autonomy, but it is contradicted by the inviolable nature of the right to life, which can neither be renounced nor can anyone be deprived of it, even in the situation of a terminal disease. The terminally ill and the dying do not cease to be humans; they still have their own personal dignity that every man is entitled to, and the human rights that originate from it and protect them in their particular situation. Therefore, such people have the right to be respected, to recognise their autonomy and to the truth. The rights of a dying person guarantee that they are treated with dignity when they have a terminal disease and that they can die with dignity. These rights demand that the dying are:
- treated as persons until death;
- provided with information concerning their health and part of the decision-making process; enable them to refuse the therapies, which prolong the agony.
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Keywords

Magisterium; overzealous therapy; the value of life; basic care; accompanying the dying; dignity; euthanasia

About this article
Title

Abandoning overzealous therapy as a realisation of rights of the dying

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 7, No 3 (2008)

Pages

93-99

Published online

2008-10-10

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2008;7(3):93-99.

Keywords

Magisterium
overzealous therapy
the value of life
basic care
accompanying the dying
dignity
euthanasia

Authors

Wojciech Bołoz

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