Monday, 12 October 2009

The Voluntary Euthanasia view on the Living Will

The VES wishes to make the provisions of a living will binding upon the medical staff involved. They see this as a first step towards fully legaliseing eithanasia and, for the same reason they wish to see a proxy document separately legislated for, as a separate deed from a living will. No Will can 'work' without the appointment of an executor. the appointment if a 'health-care proxy' to be in effect the executor of the living will would greatly assist the effectiveness of such a document.

At present, only the person making the living will has the right to enforce it, and he is by definition incapax (incapable of making valid legal decisions). To give treatment against the expressed wishes of the patient, however, is already assault at common law, and there is therefore nothing to prevent the patient refusing in advance. The wisdom of restricting the judgement of the doctor responsible for care at this sensitive time of life is a matter which would require careful consideration. The style of living will published by the EXIT, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland (VESS) proposes the appointment of a tutor dative (an agent appointed by the court) by the Court of Session, but this is a cumbersome and expensive procedure.


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