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The Withdrawal Of Nutrition And Hydration In The Vegetative State Patient

1147 words - 5 pages

In their “The withdrawal of nutrition and hydration in the vegetative state patient: Societal dimension and issues at stake for the medical profession,” Gian L. Gigli and Mariarosaria Valente argue points against the withdrawal of assisted nutrition and hydration. They believe this decision will possibly cause an ethical impact on the medical field and on society as a whole. Within the article, the authors attempt to evaluate the historical background, the quality of human life, the problem of consent, and consequences of withdrawing assisted nutrition of those in permanent vegetative state. The authors believe “nutrition and hydration should always be provided to patients (including ...view middle of the document...

This strategy is used in hope to avert the audience from learning facts, to being convinced assisted nutrition and hydration is a malicious act. Instead of applying valid statistics and/or research to support their argument, the authors use generalized statements and opinions to persuade the readers against the withdrawal of ANH.
Over exaggeration is used and dispersed throughout the entirety of the article. Calling PVS patients’ lives “apparently meaningless” is the authors’ way of persuading the reader towards their argument (315). They use this to suggest families that take their loved ones off ANH are cold-hearted and evil. With this tactic, the authors hope other families considering the same decision will feel guilty and decide not to. In reality, it is not an easy decision to make. Despite this, loved ones put in deep thought and consideration when they believe their beloved patients are better off not slowly deteriorating with rare hope of recovering. Furthermore, the authors’ attempt to support their argument is infested with logical fallacies. It is very easy for these to go unnoticed when reading argumentative articles. An exceptional amount of practice and focus is necessary to perceive logical fallacies. The discussion of how “today the doctor is called . . . to decide on the value of human lives and to hasten the death of those lives that are believed to have insufficient quality to be considered worth living” (323) takes place; this is an either/or fallacy. It is implied that either the doctor decides not to withdrawal ANH, stating he or she acknowledges the patient as valuable, or the doctor cuts off ANH, suggesting the patient is not. There are a variety of other reasons for the choice to or not to take a patient in PVS off of assisted nutrition and hydration. Also, there is the use of faulty analogy and red herring; for instance, the authors’ use a comparison of the way one treats a PVS patient to “the way in which we want to care for and relate to elderly, handicapped and unconscious people for the years to come” (327). Both authors compare the future treatment of the handicapped and elderly to decisions made towards persistent vegetative state patients, while also going off track from the initial argument by bringing in irrelevant categories of delicate people. Moreover, the slippery slope fallacy is applied in the article. The argument that “every time we humiliated human dignity, . . . we have only created the premises for new violence...

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