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Medical expertise, existential suffering and ending life
  1. Jukka Varelius
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jukka Varelius, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Philosophy, University of Turku, Turku FIN20014, Finland; jukka.varelius{at}utu.fi

Abstract

In this article, I assess the position that voluntary euthanasia (VE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) ought not to be accepted in the cases of persons who suffer existentially but who have no medical condition, because existential questions do not fall within the domain of physicians’ professional expertise. I maintain that VE and PAS based on suffering arising from medical conditions involves existential issues relevantly similar to those confronted in connection with existential suffering. On that basis I conclude that if VE and PAS based on suffering arising from medical conditions is taken to fall within the domain of medical expertise, it is not consistent to use the view that physicians’ professional expertise does not extend to existential questions as a reason for denying requests for VE and PAS from persons who suffer existentially but have no medical condition.

  • Euthanasia
  • Applied and Professional Ethics
  • Attitudes Toward Death
  • suicide/assisted suicide

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