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March 1, 1995

Health Care Ethics: Critical Issues

Author Affiliations

Eckerd College St Petersburg, Fla

JAMA. 1995;273(9):753. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520330085047

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More an analysis of moral values and principles than a set of rules, these essays are both complimentary and critical of the health care industry. The 58 contributors represent a cross-section of American universities and related programs, and they consist of philosophers, attorneys, physicians, and health care officials. In almost every issue there are conflicting viewpoints, which the authors elucidate in a fair and balanced way without proposing preformed conclusions or easy relief for our conscience. The issues are so new and unprecedented, so complex and innovative, that they defy evaluation by our traditional value systems.

Imagine for a moment that you are the patient and your doctor has been called upon to withdraw your technical life support. What would your wishes be? "There is a large segment of society that regards the exercise of such decisions by a physician as assisted suicide," writes Michael Rie. Rie continues, "Patients should

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