End-of-life decision making by health care providers must respect individual patient values. Indeed, these values must always be viewed as the baseline for developing and pursuing patient-centered palliative care for those with terminal illness. Co-ordinate with this fundamental bioethics principle is that of beneficence or, in other words, respect for conduct which benefits the dying patient by alleviating end-stage suffering — be it physical or existential. Compassion, charity, agape and/or just common sense, should be a part of setting normative standards and of legislative and judicial responses to the task of managing death. Aided by the principles of medical futility, palliative care protocols, greater acceptance of a patient’s right to refuse treatment, and a spirit of basic humaneness, an ethic of adjusted care that seeks to secure dignity during the dying process without unreasonable interference by the state should be validated.
George P. Smith, II, Gently into the Good Night: Toward a Compassionate Response to End-Stage Illness, 22 TEMP. POL. & CIV. RTS. L. REV. 475 (2013).