SIDEBAR: Physician-assisted Suicide

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Readers’ comments extracted from

To force people to live simply because we possess the technology to do so does not speak to either the ethics or the morality of such a decision.

Suffering has existential dimensions. Symptoms can be treated with greatest chance. 

My grandfather supported the [Nazi ideology], that there are humans who are without worth, meaning and dignity. He supported ideas that led to the world’s utmost catastrophy.  You cannot end suffering by ending the sufferer.

Assisted suicide is not liberating to those with disabilities, to me [a disabled individual] at least it confirms that I am a burden, not worthy of life.

We human beings already have the innate right to die or to refuse excessive medical treatment. Understanding this right is essential for the betterment of our society.

It is when you have nothing to offer a patient that he needs YOU the most. Do not fail him and provide all the moral and psychological support your can offer when accompanying his last days. Sometimes holding hands with a patient is the most helpful medicine.

We must learn more and engage in a more substantive debate of this subject.

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From N Engl J Med 368:1450-1452, 2013.

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