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Comment & Response |

Responding to a Request for Physician-Assisted Death—Reply

Timothy E. Quill, MD1; Anthony L. Back, MD2; Susan D. Block, MD3
[+] Author Affiliations
1University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
2University of Washington, Seattle
3Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2016;315(21):2352. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4045.
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In Reply We agree with Dr Galishoff that the question of how physicians should be involved in the end of a human life is of great importance to the medical profession and to the ethical discourse about the rights of patients and responsibilities of physicians. There are strong moral principles and deeply felt arguments on both sides of this question. As supporters of legal access to physician-assisted death, we especially emphasize the following principles: (1) patient autonomy—the interests and will of the dying patient who has no good choices, which is most fundamental1; (2) the imperative to assist a patient to find relief from suffering the individual finds unacceptable2; and (3) nonabandonment—the commitment of a clinician to care for a patient throughout the dying process.3


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June 7, 2016
Mitchel L. Galishoff, MD
1Valley Medical and Surgical Clinic, PC Group Practice, Valley, Alabama
JAMA. 2016;315(21):2351-2352. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4027.
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