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A Piece of My Mind
February 18, 2009

Southern Comfort

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2009;301(7):704. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.142

As men, we are all equal in the presence of death.—Publilius Syrus

As I stood in a room where families know what words will come and how the book ends, his wife spoke in broken thoughts, her grief framed by an early October sun.

“He didn't want to be like this.”

Decisions—hard decisions—had been made. Treatment would be withdrawn, the ventilator would be stopped, and he would die . . . at the age of 45.

Simple as that.

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