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Health Services Insights

Palliative Care and Patient Autonomy: Moving Beyond Prohibitions Against Hastening Death

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Health Services Insights 2016:9 37-42

Commentary

Published on 08 Dec 2016

DOI: 10.4137/HSI.S39013


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Abstract

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) upholds policies prohibiting practices that deliberately hasten death. We find these policies overly restrictive and unreasonable. We argue that under specified circumstances it is both reasonable and morally sound to allow for treatments that may deliberately hasten death; these treatments should be part of the NHPCO guidelines. Broadening such policies would be more consistent with the gold standard of bioethical principles, ie, respecting the autonomy of competent adults.



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