Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 December 2006
In a recent special supplement to the Hastings Center Report entitled “Improving End-of-Life Care—Why Has It Been So Difficult?” Robert Burt wrote the following in an essay ominously entitled “The End of Autonomy”:
(1) No one should be socially authorized to engage in conduct that directly, purposefully, and unambiguously inflicts death, whether on another person or on oneself.
(2) Decisions that indirectly lead to death should be acted upon only after a consensus is reached among many people. No single individual should be socially authorized to exercise exclusive control over decisions that might lead to death, whether that individual is the dying person, the attending physician, or a family member acting as health care proxy.