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May 27, 1996

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(10):1116. doi:10.1001/archinte.1996.00040041116018

In Committee on Bioethical Issues of the Medical Society of the State of New York published an article titled "Physician-assisted suicide."1 The position of the Committee, consonant with that of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association,2 was that physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally inconsistent with the physician's professional role. The recently passed referendum on physician-assisted suicide in Oregon that is now pending legal disposition in the courts, the recent legalization of active euthanasia in the northwest territories of Australia, and the continuing involvement of Jack Kevorkian in assisting patients in ending their lives prompts the Committee to reiterate its position on this issue. Brief State of Controversy. Two diametrically opposing views on active euthanasia and physician-assisted dying have split both the medical community and the lay public approximately equally. One view is that a terminally ill person who is suffering severe pain or distress

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