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Christ Bioeth. 2006 Apr;12(1):65-82.

The impact of Roman Catholic moral theology on end-of-life care under the Texas Advance Directives Act.

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Austin Heart Hospital, 3801 N. Lamar, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78756, USA.


This essay reviews the Roman Catholic moral tradition surrounding treatments at the end of life together with the challenges presented to that tradition by the Texas Advance Directives Act. The impact on Catholic health care facilities and physicians, and the way in which the moral tradition should be applied under this statute, particularly with reference to the provision dealing with conflicts over end-of-life treatments, will be critically assessed. I will argue, based on the traditional treatment of end-of-life issues, that Catholic physicians and institutions should appeal to the conflict resolution process of the Advance Directives Act only under a limited number of circumstances. The implications, under the Texas statute, of varied interpretations of Pope John Paul II's recent allocution on artificial feeding and hydration in the persistent vegetative state will also be considered.

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