I will not go so far as to call such killing "murder," as that implies malicious, premeditated, conscious intent. While killing people in a "PVS" by dehydration and starvation can be premeditated, i. Usually, however, the denial of food and water to people in a "PVS" is motivated by misguided compassion, and could more properly be referred to as what used to be called "mercy killing.
These are relevant to the debate, but here the focus will be on the primary issue of intention and how intentions become masked and disguised. He gives particular attention to the issue of providing food and water to people described as being in a "PVS" because this is the "front line" where the "AHN" battle is being fought. While the same issues apply to advanced dementia or other neurological impairments, the "PVS" issue is unique in that the very impetus for inventing the term "persistent vegetative state" was driven by masked intentions.
It is instructive to note that from the very beginning when Jennett and Plum first invented the term "persistent vegetative state" in , 3 they suggested that perhaps "supportive measures" should be withdrawn.
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They state: "If it were possible to predict soon after the brain damage had been sustained that, in the event of survival, the outcome would be a vegetative mindless state, then the wisdom of continuing supportive measures could be discussed. An unknown error has occurred.
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