I particularly appreciated Professor May's treatment of Advance Directives. Pennsylvania's Catholic Bishops have bemoaned that, "Recent court decisions and the enactment of federal and state laws governing advance medical directives (living will or durable power of attorney) have given many the impression that anything the courts or the civil laws allow is morally acceptable" (Nutrition & Hydration: Moral Considerations, revised, 1999). Clearly, that is not the case.
As per a September 2002 address to the World Congress of Catholic Medical Associations, Dr. George Isajiw confirms that ethical abuse of advance directives is well under way - even in Catholic hospitals. Professor May cautions that a "living will" may well be "interpreted in a way not envisioned by its signer....it is not advisable to make use of a 'living will' as an advance directive regarding one's health care....The International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force has developed a very worthwhile document called the Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD). This is a durable power of attorney for health [care document]... specifically prohibiting suicide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. It is a document fully compatible with Catholic teaching."
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