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November 1996

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Author Affiliations

London, Ontario

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(11):1185. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550110137025

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Life can become more grievous than death. Even with the best palliative care, a small number of individuals may choose to commit suicide. Brody thinks it is better to allow physicians to aid these patients in their decision after strict criteria are met, rather than maintaining a prohibition that fails to stop physicianassisted suicide (PAS) and veils the very abuses that PAS opponents most fear.

Bernat opposes PAS because it detracts from greater efforts to provide good palliative care, it opens the door to expanding indications, and it is subject to abuse.

Legislation cannot stop suicides. If a patient is provided with excellent physical, emotional, and spiritual support, and a team of experts certify that the patient cannot be reasonably helped by other means as Brody advocates, should the physician help the would-be suicide?

Even providing that suicide is acceptable to the conscience of physician and patient alike, there is

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