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What are the lessons arising from the complex case of Terri Schiavo
for bioethics and bioethicists and for the management of end-of-life
conflict? The most important lesson is that battles cannot be lead in
order to the procedure of law to anticipate the dead of a human being.
Rather, we must act humanly to see that every person dies naturally with
all the possible care until the end.
The demanded virtue in the issue of
end-of-life should not be the courage of the ‘warriors’ that fights for
justice, that is often unilateral, but the demanded virtues are prudence
and mercy towards the sick persons above all in end of life for the good
of everyone and of all the community. We need these virtues with the aim
of ‘the good’: the justice is constructed and founded on ‘the good’. And
‘the good’ is not in the principles, neither ethics nor law principles,
because principles are vices, but into the aims of a balanced
consciousness of our limits that we well know to discern also the our end-of-life with prudence and mercy.
1. Koch T, The challenge of Terri Schiavo: lessons for bioethics, J
Med Ethics 2005;31:376-378.
2. Bloche MG, Managing Conflict at the End of Life, N Engl J Med.
2005 Jun 9; 352:2371-2373.
3. Soldini M, Clinical medicine and biomedical ethics need virtues, J
Med Ethics 2005 (31 May 2005), e-Letters,
Maurizio Soldini, M.D., Ph.D.
University 'La Sapienza' of Rome
Viale del Policlinico, 155
00161 Rome, Italy
Tel. 039 06 49979596
Fax 039 06 49979586