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The illness or injury is terminal. The patient is comatose. Extraordinary medical measures are maintaining life, but how extensively and for how long should they be employed?
About 130 professional persons, almost equally divided between clergy and physicians, took part recently in probably the first national symposium on medicine and religion to explore this and other questions.
"As physicians and as clergymen we have never sat down to answer this question," the Rev. Paul B. McCleave, LLD, director of the American Medical Association's Department of Medicine and Religion, said in a keynote address.
"It's a moral question as much as it is a medical question. It's a question that is involving the people of our society, and unless we are the ones who present some direction and guidelines for these people, then others are going to make the answer for us," he told the postgraduate gathering at the YMCA of
Medical Morality: A Search for Guidelines. JAMA. 1965;193(2):40-44. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090020108057