The New Israeli Law on the Care of the Terminally Ill: conceptual innovations waiting for implementation
Abstract

Israel has recently enacted a law on the care of terminally ill patients. This law, the Patient Nearing Death Act, is the first of its kind in the world. The law divides terminally ill patients—upon their own wishes—into two separate groups: "those who wish their lives be prolonged," and those who do not. Doctors will have to abide by elaborate advanced directives and take into account various sources of information on the presumed wishes of the patient. The law sanctions discontinuation of mechanical ventilation should it become a "cyclical" rather than "continuous" therapy, a provision that has implications for the use of the already available paraPAC ventilators. The law exposes gaps in modern Judaism between the religious law and the attitudes of the observant population with regard to medical ethics.