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ARTICLE |

The Last Refreshing Taste

Paul Rousseau, MD
JAMA. 1997;277(3):211-212. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540270037019.
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To the Editor.  —As Dr Bone continues his confrontation with mortality and metastatic renal cancer, his touching and eloquent writings1,2 incite us to provide compassionate and irreproachable care to severely ill and dying patients. Unfortunately, care of terminally ill people is a neglected aspect of medical care,1 despite the fact that most physicians come in close proximity to death during daily encounters with patients. To compound the neglect, the locale of the deathbed scene has migrated from a homebound environment to an institutional setting, with death frequently occurring alone and without family, friends,3 or physician in attendance, particularly in long-term care facilities. Regrettably, absence or withdrawal of a physician from terminal care negatively alters the physician-patient relationship during its final and vulnerable phase, and fosters familial discontent and an image of patient abandonment. However, such detachment may reflect a universal fear of death and an identification with

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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