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January 5, 1994

Assisted Suicide: Sheer Cliff or Clinical Reality?

Author Affiliations

Sand Lake Psychiatric Services Orlando, Fla

JAMA. 1994;271(1):23. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510250039016

To the Editor.  —It is with pride and some gratification that I read the Special Communication by Dr Quill.1 As a practicing physician I have observed that for far too long our profession has avoided dealing directly with the ever-increasing problems associated with helping terminally ill patients in a truly humane fashion. The polarization that so often occurs between proponents and opponents of physician-assisted suicide is distressing and disappointing to physicians and of little value to our patients. Quill's carefully reasoned comments and his observations certainly reflect a more balanced approach to this very difficult area.As a child and adolescent psychiatrist who initially worked in pediatric oncology, I have remained sensitive to the issues of terminal illness throughout my career. My interest and support of various organizations and individuals to try to further alleviate the suffering of so many patients often seemed to place me in a position

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