Margaret A.Winker, MDIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorsIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: Although I
appreciated Dr Emanuel's1 enumeration of principles to be
used in assessing patient requests and physician responses, her article
seemed to emphasize and weight one or another of the principles to
arrive at a predetermined result. To avoid "unwanted intervention"
a patient may be permitted to starve to death, but "relief of
suffering," including psychological suffering, is prohibited because
of a predetermined decision that PAS is wrong? I think not. The
principles enumerated could just as easily have been used to justify
PAS. While I generally agree with the process and results included in
Emanuel's article, in no way does her reasoning reflect an objective
approach and response to a very complicated and difficult problem.
Rieger D. Responding to Patient Requests for Physician-Assisted Suicide. JAMA. 1999;281(3):227-229. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-3-jbk0120