right to die


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right to die

n.
1. A person's right to refuse medical measures to prolong life, such as mechanical ventilation or hydration and nutrition, especially in the case of terminal illness.
2. The right of a person convicted of a capital crime to refuse to resist, such as through further appeals, the state's imposition of the death sentence.

right′-to-die′ adj.

right to die

The freedom to choose one's own end-of-life care by specifying, for example, whether one would permit or want life-prolonging treatments (e.g., intubation and mechanical ventilation); intravenous or enteral feedings; antibiotics (if infected); narcotic analgesics (if in pain); or medications to hasten death (e.g., in assisted suicide or euthanasia). The moral, ethical, or legal authority to make decisions about many of these issues is a topic of considerable controversy and confusion. Contemporary health care techniques often permit the prolongation of a patient's life, when, in the natural course of biological events, that life might have ended. The ability to postpone death, and the difficulty that health care providers have in predicting when death will occur, has generated many questions about the meaning of care and well-being at the margins of existence. Who should make decisions for patients when they cannot speak for themselves? How should one's wishes be expressed or codified? Who should carry them out if the patient cannot act on his or her own? When must a person's stated wishes be followed precisely, and when should they be factored in with the wishes of loved ones or of those acting on behalf of the patient? Should they ever be ignored or overruled? When does the aid given to a dying person compromise the moral or professional values of others or jeopardize the legal standing of the patient's caregiver? Many of these challenging questions remain unresolved.
See: advance directive; assisted suicide; care, end-of-life; euthanasia; suicide
References in periodicals archive ?
David Cameron had earlier warned that there were "dangers" in the right to die and made clear his opposition to the Bill.
The positive views of ordinary citizens toward self-determination regarding a right to die may not be shared by their state legislatures, and in many states, individual beliefs now seem to be ahead of changes in law.
The teenager, from Marden, won the right to die peacefully at home after years of illness instead of having the lifesaving transplant doctors wanted to give her in January.
Often Colby is invited to speak about different medical/legal issues, including "the right to die," by the national media and by various organizations.
Unplugged: Reclaiming Our Right to Die in America shows us ethical gray areas that are not easily elided.
A TERMINALLY ill man is determined to fly to a foreign euthanasia clinic if denied the right to die at home.
I tell my grandmother's story not to make a political point about the right to die, but because I suspect that many people have a similar tale about their grandparents or father or mother or husband or wife.
As a society we are presented daily with "expert opinions" promoting the pros and cons of abortion, stem cell research, genetic testing, reproductive technologies, and right to die issues.
Some fear that a right to die may soon become a duty to die, in order to eliminate families from financial ruin.
A motion from Oxford doctors yesterday recommended the BMA takes a neutral position on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, while doctors from Islington have called for an outright backing of Lord Joffe's private member's Bill, which was introduced in the last parliament calling for the right to die to be allowed.
Adoption and marriage rights for gays have become targets of the same kind of religious-based lawmaking that has long been applied to abortion, drug use, and, in the case of Schiavo, the right to die.
Not only do we face major controversies like abortion and the right to die but minor ones like the new Puritanism that has overtaken prime time cartoon shows and the Super Bowl.