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December 27, 1995

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Author Affiliations

Hospice Care of Long Island, Inc Westbury, NY

JAMA. 1995;274(24):1911. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530240020026

To the Editor.  —I read, with dismay, the article by Ms Alpers and Dr Lo1 that characterized Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law as a "bold experiment." Chillingly, it ratifies this act as a fait accompli that physicians need to accept by cooperating in compiling relevant empirical data on such a practice.As a clinician trained in medical oncology and as a medical director of a hospice program in New York, I believe physicians should take an active stance against this practice. It should not be accepted as a reality, as the authors do so dispassionately. Such detached language by these authors completely misses the point as to why this law is unworkable and ultimately impossible to regard with any degree of professional respect, integrity, and relevance.Improving care of terminally ill patients requires a degree of medical expertise and compassion and a clinical knowledge base most physicians simply do not

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