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End‐of‐Life Decisions and the Reinvented Rule of Double Effect: A Critical Analysis

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The Rule of Double Effect (RDE) holds that it may be permissible to harm an individual while acting for the sake of a proportionate good, given that the harm is not an intended means to the good but merely a foreseen side‐effect. Although frequently used in medical ethical reasoning, the rule has been repeatedly questioned in the past few decades. However, Daniel Sulmasy, a proponent who has done a lot of work lately defending the RDE, has recently presented a reformulated and more detailed version of the rule. Thanks to its greater precision, this reinvented RDE avoids several problems thought to plague the traditional RDE.
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Keywords: double effect; end‐of‐life; euthanasia; pain relief; sedation therapy; utilitarianism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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