Editor's Correspondence |

Interventions in End-of-Life Care

Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, PHD, FRCPC
Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(8):1117-1118. doi:.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


The article by Wilson et al1 indicates once again the close association between a dying patient's wish to see their life end sooner and both physical and especially psychological distress.25 One should interpret their data beyond that with caution.

Reporting that 73% of terminally ill participants in their study believed that euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide should be legalized seems to imply an imperative for social policy to loosen legislative prohibitions against physician-hastened death. However, it should be pointed out that the rate of endorsement reported in this small group of dying patients is no different than what has been widely reported in many public opinion polls at large.6 In that regard it would seem that dying patients are no different than others; anticipation of a painful, undignified terminal course would see many look toward the availability of physician-hastened death as a comforting (albeit rarely exercised) option. A dying patient recently told me that given the option, she would "press the button now," thus ending her life immediately. At the conclusion of that memorable session, she agreed to defer "pressing the hypothetical button" and continue to meet to explore and address the nature of her suffering. Perhaps this study might have asked an even more salient question: how many people would want their death hastened if they could be guaranteed state-of-the-art, aggressive, compassionate, completely accessible, and affordable end-of-life care?

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview





Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
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.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles