Media Watch 525

Attached is the current edition of Media Watch (#525).

Of special interest in the current issue of the weekly report:

What has philosophy got to do with it? Conflicting views and values in end-of-life care

JOURNAL OF MEDICAL ETHICS | Online – 9 August 2017 – Philosopher Frances Kamm analyses and criticises in detail a set of highly influential U.S. documents/guidelines and research studies relating to end-of-life care (EoLC) and advanced care planning.1 These documents, written by a diverse group of experts working in and around palliative care, were designed to address widely recognised problems in care of the dying in the U.S. The documents analysed by Kamm are not the sort of thing that usually elicit ethical analysis. They are not endorsing withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration at the  (EoL) of life. They do not delve into elective ventilation, terminal sedation or assisted suicide, or other controversial choices at the EoL. Instead, the various documents attempt to identify and recommend evidence-based initiatives in EoLC. Several of them focus on ways to encourage and improve patients’ conversations about their preferences for medical treatment towards the EoL. We might be tempted to wonder what could be wrong with that? What does philosophy have to contribute to these topics? However, as Kamm makes clear in her paper, documents like these are sometimes ambiguous about the concepts that they invoke and they make assumptions that could be challenged.