Our in­her­ent worth has lit­tle to do with what we can do

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the Vi­tal Signs blog post “Will Dr. Emanuel opt for death at 75? Maybe not” (Mod­ern­Health­care.com, Sept. 23), the value of life is not in what we do, but who we are. Equat­ing ac­tions, or the abil­ity to per­form them, to our ul­ti­mate worth is rel­a­tive. Ac­tions are open to judg­ment, while the per­son al­ways has in­her­ent worth. There is no need to pro­long life end­lessly as we nat­u­rally age, but the value of life it­self does not be­come less worth­while. To ar­bi­trar­ily set an age to die based on what one can or can­not do is odd. I have no in­ter­est in this eth­i­cal view and nei­ther do I think it is rea­son­ably sound.

Dr. Don­ald Jansen Med­i­cal di­rec­tor of care man­age­ment UPMC Mercy Pitts­burgh

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