The Ethics of Managing Disorders of Consciousness – Medical Ethics Example

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"The Ethics of Managing Disorders of Consciousness" is a brilliant example of a paper on medical ethics. The amount of people suffering from serious incurable diseases is increasing. Among those are mainly elderly people, who are subject to certain illnesses, which are hardly curable in their age, as their organisms have no more power to resist disease, they are already too weak to struggle for their life. Realizing that, people are drawing up the so-called Living Will, stating that if they become terminally ill; their life should not be prolonged by artificial means, such as a life-support machine.

Such people are not difficult to understand: they simply do not want to lead “ vegetable existence” , being kept alive by artificial means, having a mere hope to survive and live normal life afterward. In such cases, the will of a person unwilling to suffer from pain is to be implicitly respected. Their wish to die with dignity should be fulfilled, even though their relatives state the opposite, or doctors deny stopping the life-support machine. There is a belief that if a person is destined to die from a particular disease at a certain age, so be it.

Nothing and nobody is eternal in this world. There is no way you can play games against nature (Baret & Moutel, 2012). Nobody can judge this 78 years old man, who came to the Emergency Room with respiratory distress, for his will to die a natural death. One can understand the feelings of his three sons, who wanted their father to remain on the ventilator, who wanted his life to be prolonged. But if he is seriously ill-being aged 78, what kind of life is he going to live.

That is not going to be a full life, only suffering, “ vegetable existence” . Every day they are going to see his body lying on the hospital bed hardly showing signs of life. This man has nothing of life left in him. Having drawn up that Living Will he let everybody understand that he does not hang on for dear life anymore, he is too old and too tired for that. Thus, there is nothing else left than to affirm his last will. This issue is going to be infinitely discussed over the years.

As it touches on moralities, raises doubts among theologians, provokes indignation among doctors. And the legitimacy of such statements is still questioned. Every human, without a doubt, has the power of life and death (Demertzi et al. , 2012). The suffering man did not ask for euthanasia in his Living Will, he asked not to literary by force keep him alive or rather maintain his body processes. He expressed his will to die a natural death. In every religion, it has always been taught that any man should not hasten the death as well as he should not forcedly keep other man or be kept in this world if he is to go to a better world (Bodart et al. , 2013).

  A man once given a life should not be deterred when he feels that there is no more hope, and it is the time to join the majority.        


Baret, M. C., & Moutel, G. (2012). Clinical situation, resuscitation and ethics.Revue de l'infirmière, (186), 51.

Bodart, O., Laureys, S., & Gosseries, O. (2013). Coma and disorders of consciousness: scientific advances and practical considerations for clinicians. In Seminars in neurology (Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 83-90). Thieme.

Demertzi, A., Gosseries, O., Bruno, M. A., Schnakers, C., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Chatelle, C., ... & Laureys, S. (2012). The Ethics of Managing Disorders of Consciousness. In Coma and Disorders of Consciousness (pp. 147-154). Springer London.

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