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Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life: CODA
November 13, 2002

Responding to Requests for Physician-Assisted Suicide"These Are Uncharted Waters for Both of Us . . . "

JAMA. 2002;288(18):2332. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2332

In July 2002, Paul B. Bascom, MD, and Susan W. Tolle, MD, explored the case of Mr G, a 47-year-old nursing home resident with advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As he neared death, Mr G asked his physician, Dr R, for physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Dr R did not respond directly to the request, and instead referred Mr G to the nursing home's hospice program. When the hospice social worker, Ms T, relayed back to Dr R that Mr G was still interested in pursuing PAS, Dr R became angry with the hospice staff and chose to withdraw from Mr G's care. The hospice medical director, Dr L, then became Mr G's physician and began to try to understand the context and meaning of Mr G's request.

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