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 ?
Her roles included chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society UK, president of Right to Die Europe and president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.
This was up from 79 percent in 1990 (Pew Research Center, 2006).This positive attitude toward a right to die has affected social workers.
The event called The Right To Die? comes on the back of high profile cases in the media.
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.
Now former health secretary Patricia Hewitt has emerged as a respected figure willing to sponsor a "right to die" Bill in the Commons, when the chance comes.
UNPLUGGED: RECLAIMING OUR RIGHT TO DIE IN AMERICA is based on court records, personal interviews and firsthand experience and comes from a lawyer who represented the family of Nancy Cruzan in the first right-to-die case heard by the U.S.
The 'Library in a Book' series is designed to be a first-stop research source on current issues, and thus Right to Die and Euthanasia is the perfect item of choice for the high school or college-level library studying euthanasia ethics and history.
IF YOU BELIEVE every person should have control of his or her mind and body, it probably seems easy to leap to a quick, smug opinion about "our right to die in America." Of course individuals have a right to die, the standard individualist position goes; the decision to end a terminal illness with the assistance of a physician should be left to the doctor and the patient.
A TERMINALLY ill man is determined to fly to a foreign euthanasia clinic if denied the right to die at home.
The Karen Ann Quinlan case ushered in the "right to die" era that includes routine use of living wills and advance directives.
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.