chapter  12
Treatment at the End of Life
Pages 64

Treatment decisions that result in the ending of a patient's life are sometimes characterised as euthanasia. This chapter addresses the question of when life-saving treatment may be withheld or withdrawn from the incapable patient. It describes a position which may be regarded as a compromise between the sanctity and quality of life approaches. This 'qualified' sanctity doctrine agrees with the fully fledged sanctity approach that there is something special about human life, such that it is not reducible to the sum of the life-holder's states of consciousness. The chapter is concerned with the more flexible attitude taken by the qualified sanctity of life doctrine in respect of omissions to provide life-sustaining treatment. As referred to in the Aintree decision, one situation in which the doctor is not permitted to provide the patient with life-sustaining treatment is where the latter has made a binding advance decision to refuse it.