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March 27, 1995

Disagreement With a Hedged Survey Question Does Not Tell Us Much-Reply

Author Affiliations

Milwaukee, Wis

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(6):641. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430060105014

In reply  While Hamm's comments about one question in our survey1 may be valid, they are moot and, therefore, were not worthy of mention in our analysis as printed in the Archives. Hamm observes that respondents who disagreed with the survey statement "[E]uthanasia should be limited to competent adults who request it as a result of their present situation and prognosis for recovery" either believed (1) that euthanasia should never be practiced or (2) that euthanasia should not be restricted only to that class of patients. Our survey results indicate that significantly more Christian Fundamentalists and Catholics disagreed with the statement, but Hamm apparently contends that because of ambiguity inherent in the question, we may not conclude that religious beliefs may ground many physicians' opposition to euthanasia. In fact, our conclusion that religious beliefs may have an impact on physicians' receptivity to euthanasia was not based on the respondents'