[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 50.16.125.253. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
January 5, 1994

Assisted Suicide: Sheer Cliff or Clinical Reality?

Author Affiliations

Cornell University Medical College New York, NY

JAMA. 1994;271(1):23-24. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510250039018
Abstract

To the Editor.  —Quill has written a thoughtful article on the issues that confront dying patients.1 However, as a suicidologist and a psychiatrist who has treated suicidal, terminally ill patients, I cannot agree with his statement that "some suicides may be rational" and presumably should be sanctioned. In some ways, Quill's statement is ironic, coming as it does after his excellent exploration of the hidden emotional aspects that lie behind the patient's request, "Doctor, I want to die. Will you help me?" In fact, in each of the vignettes he presents, none of the patients really wanted to commit suicide, underscoring Quill's point that physicians not take this question at face value. How then can we dispense with all the emotionality and conclude that suicide is rational if one simply understands the disease, the prognosis, and the treatment alternatives? Most of us try to make rational decisions about the

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
×