United Church of Christ

We can legitimately refuse certain medical treatments when 1) their purpose is solely to extend life without attendant quality of life, 2) they bring greater hardship than comfort, and 3) they provide no significant medical value. What might be ordinary and ethically mandated treatment for a healthy adult or child (for example, antibiotics for the treatment of pneumonia) may be excessive or extraordinary treatment for an elderly resident of a nursing home (pneumonia is often described as the “old person’s friend”) or a person is already in the final stages of the dying process. . . . Further, the utilization of pain relievers is not considered killing the patient even though morphine and other pain relief will likely shorten a person’s lifespan.   End-of-Life Care, UNC Science & Technology Taskforce (undated)

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