right to die

(redirected from Dying With Dignity)
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Related to Dying With Dignity: euthanasia

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 ?
As noted in the previous section, the phrase "death with dignity" usually refers to the process of dying with dignity. However, there are indeed instances where it is common, and quite reasonable, to consider dignity in death.
Acting with dignity is virtuous activity.(27) Dying with dignity is one specific form of this more general moral virtue.(28) In suggesting that dignified action is morally virtuous I mean that it is action springing from more or less settled dispositions that, over time, give rise to (and arise from) one's moral character.
While Martin Luther King marching at Selma, or Rosa Parks holding her seat in Birmingham, or Mahatma Gandhi leading the Salt Satyagraha might be understood as exemplifying some ancient virtue (such as courage), there is clearly something about each of these deeds that is best captured by the idea of expressing one's "human dignity." However, my present aim is to consider only one aspect of the larger realm of the virtue of dignity; that is, dying with dignity.
Now, dying with dignity is, in some ways, well suited to represent these more general ideas about the virtuous nature of dignified action.
The kind of integrity that is most central to the virtue of dying with dignity is one that is tempered by a reasoned sense of self-possession.(36) The self-possessed man has an integrity that expresses what I have called his sense of dignity.
Dying with Dignity's charter states that: People with a terminal or incurable illness that creates unrelievable, profound suffering shall have the right to choose to die with dignity in a manner acceptable to themselves and shall not be compelled to suffer beyond their wishes.