Has the sanctity of life law ‘gone too far’?: analysis of the sanctity of life doctrine and English case law shows that the sanctity of life law has not ‘gone too far’




The medical profession consistently strives to uphold patient empowerment, equality and safety. It is ironic that now, at a time where advances in technology and knowledge have given us an increased capacity to preserve and prolong life, we find ourselves increasingly asking questions about the value of the lives we are saving. A recent editorial by Professor Raanan Gillon questions the emphasis that English law places on the sanctity of life doctrine. In what was described by Reverend Nick Donnelly as a “manifesto for killing patients”, Professor Gillon argues that the sanctity of life law has gone too far because of its disregard for distributive justice and an incompetent person’s previously declared autonomy. This review begins by outlining the stance of the sanctity of life doctrine on decisions about administering, withholding and withdrawing life-prolonging treatment. Using this as a foundation for a rebuttal, a proposal is made that Professor Gillon’s assertions do not take the following into account: 1) A sanctity of life law does not exist since English Common Law infringes the sanctity doctrine by tolerating quality of life judgements and a doctor’s intention to hasten death when withdrawing life-prolonging treatment. 2) Even if a true sanctity of life law did exist: a) The sanctity of life doctrine allows for resource considerations in the wider analysis of benefits and burdens. b) The sanctity of life doctrine yields to a competent person’s autonomous decision. This review attempts to demonstrate that at present, and with the legal precedent that restricts it, a sanctity of life law cannot go too far.
机译:医学界一直在努力维护患者的能力,平等和安全。具有讽刺意味的是,在当今技术和知识的进步使我们拥有更大的保存和延长生命的能力的时代,我们发现自己越来越在问我们正在挽救的生命的价值。 Raanan Gillon教授最近发表的社论质疑英国法律对生命学说的神圣性的强调。吉伦教授在尼克·唐纳利(Nick Donnelly)牧师所说的“杀害病人的宣言”中指出,生命法的神圣性已经过分,因为它无视分配正义和无能的人先前宣布的自治。这篇综述首先概述了生命学说的神圣立场,以决定有关管理,保留和退出延长寿命的治疗的决定。以此为基础进行反驳,有人提议吉伦教授的主张不考虑以下几点:1)不存在生命法的神圣性,因为英国普通法通过容忍生活质量的判决侵犯了神圣性学说。在撤消延长生命的治疗时医生加速死亡的意图。 2)即使确实存在真正的生命法则:a)生命法则允许在更广泛的收益和负担分析中考虑资源因素。 b)生命原则的神圣性取决于胜任者的自主决定。这项审查试图证明,在目前的情况下,并以限制它的法律先例,生命法的神圣性不能走得太远。



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