Italy to Allow Living Wills and the Refusal of End-of-Life Care

NYT, 14 December 2017
Author: Elisabetta Povoledo
“Italian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday allowing adults to decide, in concordance with their doctors, their end-of-life medical care, including the terms under which they can refuse treatment. The law permits Italians to write living wills and refuse medical treatment, artificial nutrition and hydration.”
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What to Do When a Patient Has a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Tattoo

The Atlantic, 1 December 2017
Author: Ed Yong
In Florida, patients can ask not to be resuscitated by filling in an official form and printing it on yellow paper. (Yes, it has to be yellow.) Only then is it legally valid. Clearly, a tattoo doesn’t count. And yet, the patient had clearly gone through unusual effort to make his wishes known. The team members debated what to do, and while opinions differed, “we were all unanimous in our confusion,” says Holt.
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Woman in minimally conscious state should be allowed to die, says judge after hearing evidence from family

BMJ 2017; 359: j5138
Author: Clare Dyer
“A 72 year old woman in a minimally conscious state who was kept alive by artificial feeding would have found her situation “not only intolerable but humiliating” and it would be in her best interests to withdraw feeding, a High Court judge has said.”
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Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking: is medical support ethically justified?

BMC Medicine 2017 15:186
Authors: Ralf J. Jox, Isra Black, Gian Domenico Borasio, Johanna Anneser†
“Physician-assisted dying has been the subject of extensive discussion and legislative activity both in Europe and North America. In this context, dying by voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED) is often proposed, and practiced, as an alternative method of self-determined dying, with medical support for VSED being regarded as ethically and legally justified.”
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Euthanasia: an emphatic no from this GP

MJA Insight, 30 October 2017
Author: Jane Barker
“What troubles me is that I feel that there is a presumption that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are a doctor’s role – indeed, could it morally, ethically and legally be performed by any other professional? – but that somehow the question of whether we would want to play this role and how it should be regulated has not been fully discussed with us.”
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