Friday, December 9, 2005

Israelis Develop "Sabbath Clock" to Facilitate Passive Euthanasia

From the British Medical Journal:
A response delayed by a timer attached to a patient's ventilator will solve the Israeli government's wish to introduce passive euthanasia for terminally ill people and to allow them to die with dignity...

If a terminally ill patient older than 17 has requested in a living will that his life should not be extended by artificial means, a doctor will be allowed by law to carry out the patient's wish. An adult who has power of attorney may also make such a request on someone else's behalf. Being terminally ill is defined as having less than six months to live.

Active euthanasia and the withholding of nutrition will not be permitted under the new law because they violate Jewish law. But the legislation, expected to come into effect within a year, will allow the halting of ongoing support using a timer device. The family of a terminally ill patient will no longer have to go to court for permission to stop artificial life support if the patient has previously made it clear that that is his or her wish.

The timer, based on the idea of the Sabbath clock, used in religious Jewish homes to turn electrical devices on and off on Saturday, would operate for 24 hours at a time and set off a red light or alarm after 12. The patient or their representative could at any time request an extension. But if the dying person were determined not to have their life extended, the timer would turn off the ventilator at the end of the cycle.

Technorati Tags: , ,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how they believe that euthanizing someone with a timer that goes off after 12 hours is any different than euthanizing them by simply reaching out and "pulling the plug" by hand ... ?

If an electronic gadget does it, then it's not euthanasia? What about the person who sets the timer?

I'm not sure I follow their logic.