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April 28, 1999

Euthanasia and End-of-Life Care

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

JAMA. 1999;281(16):1488. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-16-jbk0428

To the Editor: We were surprised that in their article assessing patients' perspectives of what constitutes quality end-of-life care, Dr Singer and colleagues1 did not address the issue of euthanasia. Certainly before the availability of highly active antiretroviral treatment, many patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection asked us whether active euthanasia would be possible if their suffering became unbearable and they had no further treatment options. During an anonymous questionnaire survey among 315 persons with HIV infection in Belgium, 82% of the respondents felt that physicians should be able to help terminate life at the explicit request of a patient in severe physical pain.2

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