Toward a Humane Death with Dementia
Menzel and Chandler-Cramer want to empower competent persons to impose potential discomfort and distress on a later self who cannot understand the reasons for that choice. In this situation, the price of respecting autonomy is paid by a frail incapacitated patient who has no idea why food and water are no longer offered to her.
In this issue, Paul Menzel and M. Colette Chandler-Cramer propose a novel advance directive. Besides giving competent people the opportunity to refuse future life-prolonging medical interventions, they say, advance directives should give people the opportunity to refuse ordinary food and water if they later experience severe dementia.