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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 21, Issue 3, Autumn 2021

John Keown
Pages 397-410

In Their “Best Interests”
Respecting Patients or Their Preferences?

This essay criticizes the subjective understanding of “best interests” adopted by the United Kingdom’s Mental Capacity Act 2005 and by the 2018 guidance of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians on the provision of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration to incapacitous adults. The key criticism is that such an understanding wrongly values people’s preferences above their lives.