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March 24, 1993

Euthanasia Is Not the Answer: A Hospice Physician's View

Author Affiliations

Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Tex New York University Medical Center New York, NY

JAMA. 1993;269(12):1568-1569. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500120106040

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In the summer of 1992,I read, among other books about euthanasia, Derek Humphrey's controversial Final Exit. It is an unapologetic and somewhat bizarrely forthright how-to book on ending one's life. Humphrey, a news reporter, states simply that his goal was to "actually give dying people printed guidance on how to end their lives if their suffering was unbearable!"

Just as divorce has increased dramatically among the elderly, so has suicide. Suicidal wishes would be acted upon much more frequently if individuals had the physical capacity, awareness, and access to end their lives. Recent publicity has focused on an American practitioner and author, Dr Jack Kevorkian (The Goodness of a Planned Death), whose invention of a death machine to end the life of an Alzheimer's patient has received considerable support and far less condemnation from the public.

"... 'where cure is not possible, care is still needed'... "

The medical community has not,