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Comment & Response
June 7, 2016

Responding to a Request for Physician-Assisted Death—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
  • 2University of Washington, Seattle
  • 3Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2016;315(21):2352. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4045

In Reply We agree with Dr Galishoff that the question of how physicians should be involved in the end of a human life is of great importance to the medical profession and to the ethical discourse about the rights of patients and responsibilities of physicians. There are strong moral principles and deeply felt arguments on both sides of this question. As supporters of legal access to physician-assisted death, we especially emphasize the following principles: (1) patient autonomy—the interests and will of the dying patient who has no good choices, which is most fundamental1; (2) the imperative to assist a patient to find relief from suffering the individual finds unacceptable2; and (3) nonabandonment—the commitment of a clinician to care for a patient throughout the dying process.3

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