Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

5 thoughts

  1. Categorically stating living wills are a mistake may have been a case of “comment in haste, regret at leisure”. My problem is with provisions we make in one time, place and health state for a very different time and health state, when we cannot know how much our perspective on illness and the value of life even at reduced levels of function may have changed. As you say, these provisions are for medical conditions of limited consciousness; we do not, however, know what neurological processes may be active even in such circumstances where you are in no position to change the will.
    A statement (taken froma Finnish model form) like ‘If I had an incurable disease or I became seriously disabled, I should not be resuscitated, if there is no hope for recovery,
    and if the resuscitation would not lead to ability to live an autonomous life’
    is problematic on several levels. Apaprt from the question of who determines whether or not there is hope for recovery, a well person is likely to vastly underestimate the value he or she will place on even a non-autonomous life at a future juncture.
    That said, a discussion of the conditions of ending life-extending interventions is legitimate and necessary

  2. Amusing that you trust the government to kill people in war, don’t trust them to cause them discomfort or pain in war, and trust them to tell law-abiding citizens when they should die.

  3. The bureaucracy should not be involved in individual decisions about life. …a ginormous mistake.

  4. If a conscious person decides not to get a surgical procedure or to take medication that will presumably lengthen their life, nobody considers that suicide. It is a choice. And under the circumstances nothing could be more dignified than being given the opportunity to decide how to live out the final days of one’s life.
    All a living will is, is a document made while somebody is of sound mind and body, to let it be known how they would like to live out their final days just in case they are not able to communicate it themselves.
    There is nothing in the health care legislation that encourages euthenasia or even living wills. All there is is the encouragement for health care professionals to explain these options to patients.
    The arguments that are being made against this legislation are ludicrous.

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