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February 14, 1996

Good Care of the Dying Patient

Author Affiliations

Lansing, Mich; New Haven, Conn; (Vice-Chair), San Antonio, Tex; Beverly Hills, Calif; Minneapolis, Minn; Syracuse, NY; Haddon Heights, NJ; (Chair), Macon, Ga; Boston, Mass; Irving, Tex; Baltimore, Md; Iowa City, Iowa; The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC.
From the Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 1996;275(6):474-478. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530300058041

SUFFERING patients are now requesting physician assistance to end their lives. Physicians who serve the sick are now called on to discern whether that service should include helping to speed the death of the sufferer. The discourse has centered on cases, arguing whether there is or should be a right to stop particular examples of severe suffering, and often relying on reflections about American culture and history. The debate must include review of how the health care system actually serves persons who are dying. What is known about these matters is the subject of this review, which is the third in a series of reports on physician-assisted suicide requested by the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees in response to Resolution 3 at the 1993 House of Delegates Annual Meeting. The first two reports were presented at the 1993 Interim Meeting: Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs Report 8,