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Ending the life of the act/omission dispute : causation in withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining measures

McGee, Andrew (2011) Ending the life of the act/omission dispute : causation in withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining measures. Legal Studies : Journal of the Society of Legal Scholars, 31.

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Abstract

My aim in this paper is to challenge the increasingly common view in the literature that the law on end of life decision making is in disarray and is in need of urgent reform. My argument is that this assessment of the law is based on assumptions about the relationship between the identity of the defendant and their conduct, and about the nature of causation, which, on examination, prove to be indefensible. I then provide a clarification of the relationship between causation and omissions which proves that the current legal position does not need modification, at least on the grounds that are commonly advanced for the converse view. This enables me, in conclusion, to clarify important conceptual and moral differences between withholding, refusing and withdrawing life-sustaining measures on the one hand, and assisted suicide and euthanasia, on the other.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 42597
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Omissions, Acts, Causation, Letting die, Withholding and Withdrawing Life-sustaining Measures, Life-prolonging treatment, Euthanasia, Prolonging life, Shortening life
DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-121X.2011.00193.x
ISSN: 1748-121X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > APPLIED ETHICS (220100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > APPLIED ETHICS (220100) > Bioethics (human and animal) (220101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > APPLIED ETHICS (220100) > Medical Ethics (220106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Wiley-Blackwell
Deposited On: 13 Jul 2011 08:56
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2012 15:00

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