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The Value of Contesting a Hopelessly Fatal Issue

John H. Stokes, M.D.
JAMA. 1916;LXVI(9):674-675. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580350062032.
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To the Editor:  —The recent appearance of a valuable article by Reilly, on "The Signs and Symptoms of Impending Death" (The Journal, Jan. 15, 1916, p. 160), suggests forcibly those questions which center around the familiar conservative principle that governs the physician, in theory at least, in the face of such an issue. The "Cui bono?" cannot be escaped, whether we ask it of ourselves, or meet it in the person of our patients' relatives, in our friends, or in our own flesh and blood.Setting aside for the moment the ethical and social aspects of euthanasia, which after all we answer so easily in generalities and with such difficulty when we confront the specific case, it is worth while for the moment to weigh a less familiar aspect of the value of a physician's futile struggle against what was, from the start, an inevitably fatal issue.Issues in medicine


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