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Contribution to Book
An Imperative for Today: Recognizing a Positive Legal Right to Palliative Care (in Hebrew)
  • Reuven Ziegler, Oxford University
  • Sylviane Colombo
The issue of palliative care, which is increasingly at the heart of the end-of-life discourse in the international legal community, has receive, surprisingly, little to no attention in Israel. The main objective of this paper is to place palliative care on the public and legal agenda, to emphasize the vital importance of openly discussing end-of-life questions, and to bring about a change in the legal status of palliative care in Israel. Discussion of end-of-life issues in the Israeli legal community has until now revolved almost exclusively around the issue of euthanasia; in the few instances where palliative care has been addressed, it has reflected insufficient information and an almost total lack of awareness. The authors suggests that a legal recognition of a right to euthanasia before an explicit recognition of the right to palliative care would further sideline the latter; euthanasia will then progressively become the ultimate, natural and automatic answer to end-of-life dilemmas. The paper offers three interlinked perspectives: first, the significance of the historical development of palliative care, up to its contemporary profile; second, an empirical analysis of the complexities of the Israeli picture; third, queries regarding the reluctance of Western Cultures to confront end-of-life issues. Based on the above, the authors submit that there is a need for explicit recognition of palliative care as a positive legal right in Israel. The paper critically appraises the model included in the draft bill on the terminally ill patient (The Steinberg Committee bill) in light of the authors' preferred model. The paper refrains from entering the euthanasia debate or offering views on its propriety, save where directly relevant to the issue at stake, namely the (more urgent) need for legal recognition of palliative care. It thus analyzes only the part of the Steinberg draft bill which concerns palliative care, and does not address the bulk of the bill concerning recognition of euthanasia. Palliative Care has a right of full citizenship on its own. Hence, the authors stress on the urgency that it be known and discussed, and their detailed proposal of how it should be addressed and legislated.
  • Palliative Care,
  • Right to Medical Treatment,
  • Positive Rights
Publication Date
June, 2004
Shai Lavi
Tel Aviv University
Citation Information
Reuven Ziegler and Sylviane Colombo. "An Imperative for Today: Recognizing a Positive Legal Right to Palliative Care (in Hebrew)" 1stTel AvivLAW, SOCIETY AND CULTURE (2004)
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