Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor
In Reply: As Dr Spudis argues
there are differences between foreseeing a risk of death and intending
death. Intending death is having death as the goal and primary
motivating factor. Conversely, foreseeing some risk of death occurs in
most medical interventions, from prescribing antibiotics to performing
cardiac surgery. Yet no one considers these euthanasia or PAS.
Injecting patients with muscle relaxants or phenobarbital without
respiratory support or injecting patients with large doses of potassium
chloride occurs only when the actor intends—and not merely
foresees—the patient's death. We did not use the terms
euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide in our
survey but provided descriptive phrases that were thoroughly pretested
and have been used in other rigorous surveys. Nevertheless, as we
reported, 12.5% of physicians misclassify cases of withholding medical
treatments or increasing morphine for pain control as euthanasia or
PAS, and an additional 18.4% of physicians misclassify euthanasia as
Emanuel EJ, Daniels ER, Fairclough DL, Clarridge BR. Oncologists' Practice of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide—Reply. JAMA. 1999;281(10):897–899. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-10-jac90000
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