The Right to Refuse Treatment (IN: Intending Death: the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, edited by T L Beauchamp)
Davis N A
This essay argues that the view that a patient’s right to refuse life-saving medical treatment is bounded by the state’s entitlement &/or obligation to prevent individuals from committing suicide, or to assist them in so doing, is untenable. Part I of this essay contains a brief characterization of the right to refuse treatment. Part II considers one attempt to restrict this right to refusals of treatment which are deemed nonsuicidal. Part III presents some reasons for rejecting this proposed restriction of the right to refuse treatment in favor of the broader construal of that right presented in Part I.