Death, the process of dying, has become far more complicated than it once was. 100 ago, most people died at home of illnesses that medicine could do little to defeat. Now technology has created choices for dying patients and their families, choices that raise basic questions about human dignity and what constitutes a "good death."
Most people die in hospitals or institutions where the staff makes a valiant effort to keep patients alive until there is no reasonable chance of recovery. At what price? For many people, that's exactly what they want: a no-holds-barred effort to fight off death as long as possible. For others facing terminal illness, however, there may come a point where the fight no longer seems worth it. Those patients may find their wishes and those of their families overlooked as physicians juggle medical, legal and moral considerations. In most cases, medical professionals have considerable discretion in deciding when additional efforts to sustain life are futile and a patient should be allowed to die.
Is it right?