Although known and debated since ancient Greece and Rome, the end-of-life ethical dilemmas are increasingly exposed to disputes and controversies. The main reason is the technoscientific progress that has been progressively increasing the life expectancy but not, in the same measure, the quality of life. The process of death, that can be lengthened or shortened by technical procedures, is in the forefront of the end-of-life ethical dilemmas. The meditations and opinions about these questions are sometimes based on misconceptions. A broad and inclusive analysis should consider, among others, a historical review of these topics and point out how various sectors of the society observe and scrutinize these plights. An analysis, about any controversy, is not conscientious if it does not point out a solution or at least a proposition to mitigate the disputes. It is in this context that, in the lack of biomarkers that can predict with accuracy the end-of-life, I recommend in this essay, the living will and other advanced health care directives, as a reasonable solution to lighten to a certain extent the ethical dilemmas of end-of-life.
Part of the book: Bioethics in Medicine and Society