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Avoiding Prolonged Dementia
Hastings Center Report (2018)
  • Norman L Cantor, Rutgers Law School - Newark
The scourge of Alzheimer's is daunting.  For me, the specter of being mired in progressively degenerative dementia is an intolerably degrading prospect. One avoidance tactic -- suicide while still competent – risks a premature demise while still enjoying a tolerable lifestyle.  The question arises whether an alternative tactic -- an advance directive declining all life-sustaining intervention once a certain point of debilitation is reached -- might be preferable as a device to avoid a prolonged, unwanted limbo.  My article in the forthcoming Hastings Center Report (HCR) presents the legal and moral foundation for my advance directive declining even simplistic interventions at a relatively early stage of post-competence cognitive decline.  It is titled “On Avoiding Deep Dementia” and the cite is 48:4 HCR (July/August 2018).  A final draft is attached, including excerpts from my own directive.  HCR solicited 3 commentaries on my article from several bioethicists, including Rebecca Dresser and Daniel Sulmasy.  Those commentaries appear in the same HCR edition. 
  • Advance Directive,
  • Alzheimer's,
  • Dementia,
  • End of life options
Publication Date
Summer August 15, 2018
Citation Information
Norman L Cantor. "Avoiding Prolonged Dementia" Hastings Center Report Vol. 48 Iss. 4 (2018)
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