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April 8, 1988

It's Over, Debbie

Author Affiliations

St Francis Family Health Center Mars, Pa

St Francis Family Health Center Mars, Pa

JAMA. 1988;259(14):2096-2097. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720140018017

To the Editor.  —It is with regret and disappointment that I find THE JOURNAL publishing an article that takes a sympathetic stance on euthanasia. The recent essay describes a weary, irritated gynecology resident who performs an act of mercy killing.1I find this action to be very distressing, saddening, and reprehensible, both medically and ethically. Alternative therapies for pain relief as well as consultation with the patient's physician and family seemingly were ignored.Ethically, there are two major philosophical tenets that must be considered when the question of mercy killing arises. One principle is that physicians and indeed all men should develop and cultivate an abiding "reverence for life." This concept was the cornerstone of the philosophy of Dr Albert Schweitzer. He believed that deep respect must be accorded to all life irrespective of race, deformity, infirmity, or intellectual ability. Schweitzer states, "To the man who is truly ethical,