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July 1983

Passive Euthanasia-Reply

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(7):1492. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350070220045

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In Reply.  —I do not feel or understand the "change of heart" mentioned by Drs Sempos and Cooper, but it is understandable that the need to oversimplify in such a short article may lead to misunderstanding. With few exceptions, it is justified, in my view, for a physician or parents to withhold lifesaving treatment when such treatment is no longer in the patient's interest. Indeed, it may be obligatory to withhold such treatment. It is rarely the case that an infant with Down's syndrome has no interest in living. It is often the case with infants in a persistent vegetative state or other handicaps "incompatible with social experiences." This seems to me a consistent basis for deciding when withholding may be justified.

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