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Revista médica de Chile

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FIGUEROA G, Rodolfo. To kill, let die and euthanasia in the bill of rights of patients and in the Chilean doctrine. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2011, vol.139, n.5, pp.655-659. ISSN 0034-9887.

The Bill of Rights for Patients provides the patient with autonomy for disposing of his life, enabling him to reject those treatments that unnecessarily prolong his life. However, the bill does not allow an artificial acceleration of death. Therefore, the bill does not permit euthanasia (at least, certain form of it) nor assisted-suicide. However, according to the practice of medicine and also Chilean doctrine, it is permitted to inject morphine to a patient to relieve his pain, even though that could hasten his death. In consequence, it is allowed for the patient to dispose of his life and also to inject in him morphine for pain relief, endangering his life, but neither euthanasia nor assisted-suicide is allowed. Is this coherent? According to Chilean doctrine, it could be coherent under the condition of accepting the distinction between killing and letting die and also the double effect doctrine. The problem is that there is abundant English literature in the realm of moral philosophy to disregard both conditions. Therefore, it is possible to claim that the Bill is not coherent and that the Chilean doctrine is based upon a distinction and a doctrine that are not acceptable.

Keywords : Ethics, medical; Euthanasia; Suicide, assisted.

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