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Morally Appropriate

In another resolution, verbal boundaries were immediately drawn. “Human beings are made in the image of God and are, therefore, of inestimable worth. God has given people the highest dignity of all creation. Such human dignity prohibits euthanasia; that is, actively causing a persons death.” Moral questions are then raised about medical technologies that result in prolonging the dying process beyond its normal course.” which often causes great suffering, not only for the patient, but also for the family and caregivers. NAE “believes that in cases where patients are terminally ill, death appears imminent and treatment offers no medical hope for a cure, it is morally appropriate to request the withdrawal of life-support systems allowing natural death to occur.”

More specifically, “where there is clear medical indication that the patient has suffered brain death [permanent unconscious state, not equivalent to a coma], removal of any extraordinary life-support system is morally appropriate and allows the dying process to proceed. Under such circumstances, action is best taken where there is guidance from a signed ‘living will’ or durable power of attorney for health care.” Where neither exists, “the decision to withdrawal life-support should be made by the family and/or closest friends in consultation with a member of the clergy, when available, and the medical staff.”

From NAE Washington Insight, April, 1994