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Flashcards in Medical Ethics Deck (10)
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What are ordinary means of preserving life?

• Ordinary/Proportionate Means = Those that in the judgment of the patient offer a reasonable hope of benefit and do not entail an excessive burden or impose excessive expense on the family or the community. (ERD 56)
• A person has a moral obligation to use ordinary or proportionate means of preserving his or her life.


Importance of the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary means.

• It distinguishes between forgoing an unnecessary (extraordinary) treatment and committing passive euthanasia
(omitting a treatment deemed an ordinary means of care)


What are extraordinary means of preserving life?

• Extraordinary/Disproportionate Means = Those that in the patient’s judgment do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or entail an excessive burden, or impose excessive expense on the family or the community. (ERD 57)
• A person may forgo extraordinary or disproportionate means of preserving life.


Should food and water always be provided for patients in a persistent vegetative state? Why or why not?

Yes, always because these are necessary for the vitality of the body.


Does the determination of death matter? Explain.

Death Determination Act says it must be a flat EKG (clinically dead) or not breathing. Before that law it was either-or, now it has to be both. Church teaching however says if he’s on a vent and flat EEG, he’s not dead. Church needs both to be done…think upper and lower brain stem


What is “brain death”? Does the Church approve of using so called neurological criteria to determine death?

Brain dead is the cessation of activity in the upper brain and lower brain stem. Two basic conditions have to be met for the ethical retrieval of vital organs from donors: the donor must freely consent to it, and the donor must be dead. The Church affirms its use.


Is it always wrong to let someone die? What is one really saying when asking, “Would you help me die”?

No. "Would you help me end my suffering?"


What is euthanasia?

Euthanasia is the killing of a suffering patient for ending pain or in the face of an incurable disease


What is passive euthanasia?

Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments, such as antibiotics, necessary for the continuance of life


What is active euthanasia?

Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces, such as administering a lethal injection, to kill and is the most controversial means