Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.
In Reply: I completely agree with Dr Bernheim and colleagues that the ethical dilemma described in the article only exists because of the patient's socioeconomic status. Although not included in the article, the original Grand Rounds presentation addressed the larger context of the systems of health financing and delivery as they relate to patients with financial and social resources similar to this patient.
I read with concern the account by Dr Quigley and colleagues about laws in England and Wales that allow for patients to be forcibly removed from their dwellings. I agree with their suggestion that in cases like Mrs A’s, having a meeting of all stakeholders sooner rather than later is advisable. As described in the article, a meeting like this occurred 8 months before Mrs A was hospitalized.
Carrese J. Refusal of Care by Patients—Reply. JAMA. 2006;296(24):2921-2923. doi:10.1001/jama.296.24.2923-a