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If That Ever Happens to MeMaking Life and Death Decisions after Terri Schiavo$
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Lois Shepherd

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832950

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888643_shepherd

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The Limits of Evidence

The Limits of Evidence

(p.96) 5 The Limits of Evidence
If That Ever Happens to Me

Lois Shepherd

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the limits of evidence regarding the wishes of a person in a permanent vegetative state. It argues that we should allow the evidence to be weighed fairly—a preponderance of evidence for one answer or another is preferable to a more onerous standard when determining the course of action with respect to permanently vegetative patients. We should not be required to produce overwhelming evidence of a wish to refuse treatment before allowing it to be withdrawn. Much more caution should also be exercised with living wills, especially those that are poorly written. For many, if not most, of us, a good discussion with loved ones and appointment of a health care proxy are better than even a well-written living will.

Keywords:   life support, permanent vegetative state, living wills, treatment, patients

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