The Cultural Context of End-of-Life Ethics: A Comparison of Germany and Israel

Abstract

End-of-life decisions concerning euthanasia, stopping life-support machines, or handling advance directives are very complex and highly disputed in industrialized, democratic countries. A main controversy is how to balance the patient’s autonomy and right to self-determination with the doctor’s duty to save life and the value of life as such. These EoL dilemmas are closely linked to legal, medical, religious, and bioethical discourses. In this paper, we examine and deconstruct these linkages in Germany and Israel, moving beyond one-dimensional constructions of ethical statements as “social facts” to their conflicting and multifaceted embedding within professional, religious, and cultural perspectives

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