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Editor's Correspondence
April 23, 2001

Interventions in End-of-Life Care—Reply

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(8):1117-1118. doi:

In reply

Few studies have been conducted to investigate the factors that motivate terminally ill people to seek assistance in ending their lives. Despite this lack of information, reviews of the legal status of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have been taking place around the world. Now that relevant research is starting to accrue,1,2 Dr Chochinov wisely cautions against a rush to infer policy imperatives from this work. Empirical research can be useful in providing a better understanding of the attitudes of dying people toward euthanasia and PAS, which is clearly a basic concern in the legalization debate, but it cannot tell society what it should or should not do. Those policy decisions require a weighing of complex clinical, moral, and ethical issues that go beyond the scope of patient surveys.3

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