What Are the Pros and Cons of Life Support?

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According to the Advanced Cardiac Life Support Training Center, two of the largest arguments for life support are that it assists in sustaining life for an indefinite period of time and that it goes against many people's moral codes to allow someone to die. Two arguments against the utilization of life support are that the apparatus drains energy resources and that it is unethical to prolong life without consent.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information offers additional arguments for and against the use of life support. Arguments for life support include that it is required regardless of prognosis and that life support can be requested by patients or their personal representatives without any justification necessary. This means that a patient can request to be put on life support even if doctors do not believe that recovery is possible.

The responding arguments against life support note that while life support does sustain life, it does not heal or guarantee an improved quality of life. Additionally, if a personal representative is making the decision for the patient, the decision to sustain life on life support can be made without regard for quality of life. A Frontline report details how many people believe it goes against the ethical code of physicians to allow someone without medical training to make the decision to keep another person on life support.