Patient Autonomy, Family and the Duty to Die

  • Lin, Ya-Ping (PI)

Project: National Science and Technology CouncilNational Science and Technology Council Academic Grants

Project Details


John Hardwig claims in his controversial essay “Is There a Duty to Die”(1997) that one may have a duty to die when her or his illness imposes overly heavy physical, emotional and financial burdens on family members or loved ones. The core of his argument is based on the notion of relational autonomy and family-centered medical decision making model. According to Hardwig, a competent adult patient’s autonomy is profoundly connected to moral responsibility to family and loved ones, and the traditional focus on patient-centered medical ethics, in which patient interests have priority, should be shifted to family-centered medical ethics, in which the interests of all family members are taken into fair consideration. Starting from Hardwig’s account of duty to die, this research aims to critically examine the notion of patient autonomy, family involvement in medical decision making, the balance of interests between individual patient and family members, and family ethics and value with regard to the plausibility and applicability of his theory. Finally, this research attempts to clarify the controversies surrounding refusal of life-sustaining medical treatment, physician-assisted suicides, and long-term care for the elderly in the context of medical ethos in Taiwan.

Project IDs

Project ID:PE10307-0148
External Project ID:MOST103-2410-H182-015-MY2
Effective start/end date01/08/1431/07/15


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