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The Hastings Center has announced a significant research project: ‘Dementia and the Ethics of Choosing When to Die’ will focus on basic issues surrounding an individual’s ability to exercise end of life choices when suffering from dementia.

Here’s a one significant paragraph extract from the announcement:

In 2018, 5.7 million Americans were living with dementia.
An estimated
12 million others will be at high risk for developing dementia over the
next 30 years as the baby boom generation lives into their 80s and 90s.

In the U.S., the basic legal right to be free of unwanted treatment is
long established. People with decision-making capacity have the right to
forgo life-sustaining treatment they do not want. People who lack
decision-making capacity have the same right through the use of an
advance directive or a surrogate decision-maker. However, this
longstanding legal framework and ethical consensus does not fully
reflect the situation of a person facing dementia if this person has no
medical treatments to refuse. Also, the time frame in which a terminally
ill person with decision-making capacity can request and use medical
aid-in-dying (MAID),
now legal in nine U.S. jurisdictions, does not
correspond to the dementia trajectory. (end extract)

Read the whole article at

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