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Editor's Correspondence
December 7/21, 1998

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(22):2513. doi:

In their thought-provoking article on physician-assisted suicide, Sumasy et al1 show an association between physicians' willingness to assist with suicide and their tendencies to conserve medical resources. They rightly point out that the association does not imply a causal relationship. Rather, it could arise from another factor, such as a greater underlying sense of "rationality," that might make some physicians more apt both to conserve resources and to accept as reasonable a terminal patient's choice to end his or her life early. The authors go on to suggest, however, that greater caution is needed in the legalization of assisted suicide to prevent physicians from translating the "increasing pressure on physicians to control the cost of care" into a greater tendency to assist with suicide.

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