Moral Issues in Prolongation of Life
Hard Decisions Involved in Extension of Life
Modern medicine's increasing ability to stave off temporarily the inevitable outcome of degenerative disease is raising moral problems that require difficult decisions by doctors and by patients and their families. Among the most poignant of the questions that often have to be answered is whether a patient on the brink of death should be allowed to die then and there, or whether measures should be taken to keep him alive a little longer even when there is no hope of recovery. Ultimately, society itself may be forced to make equally difficult decisions regarding prolongation of life in general, and for periods that may be counted in years rather than merely days or hours.