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Hastings Center Report

From the Editor: Choosing to Die

Abstract: Two articles in the September-October 2022 issue of the Hastings Center Report discuss health-related reasons that people might have to actively bring their lives to an end. In one, Brent Kious considers the situation of a person who, because of illness, becomes a burden on loved ones. A person in such a situation might prefer to die, and Kious argues that, while there is no obligation to hasten one’s death, the choice to do so could sometimes be reasonable. In a second article, Henri Wijsbek and Thomas Nys discuss a case in the Netherlands in which a woman with severe dementia was euthanized at a point when her advance euthanasia directive did not align with what she said, when asked, about death. Wijsbek and Nys defend the authority of her advance directive against a range of objections.

In a third article, Henry Silverman and Patrick Odonkor, physicians at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where the first pig-to-human heart transplantation was performed in early 2022, develop recommendations for clinical trials of porcine heart transplantation. And an essay in the issue criticizes the allocation recommendations developed for Covid-19 vaccines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

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