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September 16, 1899

THE RIGHT TO DIE.

JAMA. 1899;XXXIII(12):739. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450640053015

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Abstract

A presumably learned jurist, a law lecturer in Yale University, has, in an address recently delivered, emitted the opinion that it is wrong to prolong a life in hopeless misery by medical art. He says: "In civilized nations and particularly of late years, it has become the pride of many in the medical profession to prolong such lives at any cost of discomfort or pain to the sufferer or suspense or exhaustion to his family." He asks: "Is not this a misapplication of the healing art?" in other words, are not physicians interfering with a beneficent providence, which, if left to itself, would abbreviate suffering and really make life happier to the surviving? This address has been extensively noticed in the daily press and commented on by physicians, lawyers, and others, and it is satisfactory to see that the ethical instincts of our profession are so firmly upheld in nearly

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