Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor.—In his article on right
to die cases, Mr Gostin1notes that issues
now considered well settled were once bitterly contended. In his commenting
on one such dispute, the 1983 Barbercase involving
the withdrawal of nutrition and fluids, he writes, "In Barber, for instance, two physicians were convicted of murder for terminating
life support at a patient's request, only to have the conviction vacated on
appeal." That statement is incorrect. Although it is now widely believed and
frequently repeated that "in that California case the two physicians were
convicted on murder charges that were later reversed," the fact is that the
physicians were never tried and never convicted of anything.
Paris JJ, Gargaro, Jr WJ. Deciding Life and Death in the Courtroom: Debate and Clarification. JAMA. 1998;279(16):1259–1261. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-16-jac80007
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