Does the Doctrine of Double Effect Apply to the Prescription of Barbiturates? Syme vs the Medical Board of Australia

Guest Post: Xavier Symons Paper: Does the doctrine of double effect apply to the prescription of barbiturates? Syme vs the Medical Board of Australia   My recently published article analyses the controversial Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hearing Syme vs The Medical Board of Australia. In that hearing, Dr Rodney Syme, an Australian urologist and euthanasia […]

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Charlie Gard: An Ethical Analysis of a Legal Non-Problem

(Cross-posted from EJIL: Talk!) For those with an internet connection and an interest in current affairs, the story of Charlie Gard been hard to avoid recently.  A decent précis is available here; but it’s worth rehearsing. Shortly after his birth, Charlie’s health began to deteriorate, and he was diagnosed with a terminal and incurable mitochondrial […]

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Guest Post: Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Treatment in the Patient’s Best Interests: The Implications of Briggs

Guest Post: Jenny Kitzinger, Celia Kitzinger and Jakki Cowley Paper:  When ‘Sanctity of Life’ and ‘Self-Determination’ clash In a recent landmark judgment in the Court of Protection (Briggs v Briggs [2016] EWCOP 53), a judge authorised withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment from a minimally conscious patient with potential for further recovery.  Our article in the Journal of […]

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Is Hope a Virtue?

It’s perfectly understandable that hope should have featured so prominently in the coverage of the Charlie Gard case; each proposal is presented as offering fresh hope, each reversal presented as dashing hopes.  In either case, hope is something presented as desirable.  A bit more deeply, hope is one of the Theological Virtues, and so anyone […]

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Never Let an Ill Child Go to Waste

The Charlie Gard saga is one about which I’ve been reluctant to say anything, not least because plenty of other people have said plenty elsewhere.  Sometimes they add heat, and sometimes they add light. Beneath everything, the story is fairly simple: a small child is terribly ill; it is agreed by medical opinion that continued […]

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No Pain, All Gain: The Case for Farming Organs in Brainless Humans

Guest post by Ruth Stirton, University of Sussex (@RuthStirton) and David Lawrence, Newcastle University (@Biojammer) It is widely acknowledged that there is a nationwide shortage of organs for transplantation purposes.  In 2016, 400 people died whilst on the organ waiting list.  Asking for donors is not working fast enough.  We should explore all avenues to […]

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Law Changes and Slippery Slopes

Apparently, there was a TV programme in Australia the other day in which a there was a discussion of assisted dying.  It got reported in The Guardian, largely on the basis that an 81-year-old audience member kept calling Margaret Somerville “darling” and then got mildly sweary.  I’ve only seen those clips from the programme that […]

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Aid-in-Dying Laws and the Physician’s Duty to Inform

Guest Post: Mara Buchbinder Paper: Aid-in-dying laws and the physician’s duty to inform Why do so many people assume that any clinical communication about aid-in-dying (AID, also known as assisted suicide), where it is legal, ought to be patient-initiated? Physician participants in my ongoing study tend to assume that physicians should wait for patients to initiate […]

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