Is compassion an appropriate motive for ending life?
Can euthanasia ever be justified as an act of benevolence?
Can euthanasia allow a person to die with dignity? Death and Compassion offers a systematic exploration of the role of the virtues within medical ethics and practice " presenting a critique of principle-based ethical systems within the context of modern medicine.
Focusing specifically on terminal care and the ethical problems surrounding euthanasia, and drawing on Aristotle's teleological account of the virtues, the author develops an argument in favour of a systematic incorporation of the virtues of compassion, benevolence and respectfulness in medical practice - transcending the shortcomings of principles of beneficence, non-maleficence and respect for patient autonomy. By presenting new ways of conceptualising and reasoning about ethical issues such as the termination of life-support, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, Death and Compassion offers new insights for a radical rethink of the dominant mode of thinking in contemporary bioethics and the practice of modern medicine.