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12 September 2013

Physician-assisted suicide a hotly debated topic

Whether doctors should help patients die continues to be a hotly debated topic within the medical community, a poll finds.

Whether doctors should help patients die continues to be a hotly debated topic within the medical community, a New England Journal of Medicine poll finds.

Those supporting physician-assisted suicide stressed the importance of patient autonomy and "noted that if physicians assist at birth, they should also have a role in assisting at death," according to the report.

"What you see is a debate between the old paternalistic view of medicine with the notion that you always have to keep the best interest of the patient at heart and a more contemporary ethical perspective that to me over-stresses the patient's autonomy," said Kenneth Doka, professor of gerontology at the College of New Rochelle in New York and a senior consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America.

Dr R. Sean Morrison, president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, said palliative care is the issue the journal should be discussing.

 
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