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Comment & Response
January 2018

Medical Assistance in Dying—Unanswered Questions

Author Affiliations
  • 1IMPACCT, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(1):156. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.7316

To the Editor In their Perspective published in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Quinn and Detsky1 seem to offer the rationale of mercy to explain why they unexpectedly and jointly slid into participating in euthanasia of their patient with advanced cancer, Mr Chubb, through Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). Indeed, euthanasia is often referred to as a form of “mercy killing,” seemingly because it claims to cut short the duration of a person’s present suffering so they can avoid that which is feared. Even with the likelihood of intense suffering during dying by lethal medication,2 incomplete understanding of mercy as being only compassion and relieving suffering certainly can position euthanasia as excusable, desirable, or even necessary.

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