117 e-Letters

published between 2006 and 2009

  • Response to McLachlan
    David M Shaw

    The quote in the response by Hugh McLachlan is taken slightly out of context: the full sentence is "If we accept that it is bad for people to end their life with a period of suffering, it does not matter whether that period lasts 100 years, 100 days or 100 minutes: we should help them to die as soon as possible." This argument was aimed only at those who already agree that we should help people avoid prolonged periods of...

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  • Diagnosing death
    Matt Thomas

    Dr Miller's argument is based on the premises that (1) doctors must not kill patients; (2) brain-dead patients are alive; (3) procuring vital organs from brain-dead patients would cause their death (p618). As Dr Miller acknowledges, it is by no means certain that premise (1) stands, as doctors intentionally kill patients every day and this is accepted and acceptable to societies in which it takes place. The second premis...

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  • It does not follow that we ought to help those who want to die to die
    Hugh V McLachlan

    David Shaw has written a very good, erudite article on euthanasia, which is a pleasure to read. However, he is mistaken when he says: ‘If we accept that it is bad for people to end their life with a period of suffering … we should help them to die as soon as possible’. (p. 531) This does not follow. From the premise that it would be good were something or other to happen, we cannot validly conclude that we – in general or...

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  • Response to Patrone
    Christopher J Ryan

    Body integrity identity disorder is a very rare condition where sufferers experience longstanding anguish because there is a mismatch between their bodies, and their internal image of how their bodies should be. Most typically, the person is deeply distressed by the presence of what they openly acknowledge as a perfectly normal leg. Some sufferers request their limb be amputated.1 We and others have argued that such req...

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  • Students' attitudes towards abortion are not comparable
    Souhail Alouini

    Rosie Steele (1) reports that medical students without religious affiliation of Oslo and Belfast universities are mainly pro-choice. However, it is surprising that 48% of Norwegian students do not have religious affiliation, whereas only 4.7% of Irish students do not have it. Why was the rate of religious affiliation approximately ten times superior in Irish students' group than in the Norwegian one? An explanation needs to b...

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  • Premature Neonates, Vegetative State and Nutrition: Political Power Clashes with Medical Autonomy
    Giuseppe Gristina

    PREFACE Recently, escalating controversy has been generated in Italy concerning end-of-life dilemmas. As a result, some recent health policies adopted by the Italian government in compliance with the official point of view of the Roman Catholic Church have rejected published scientific evidence. This article shows three examples of this situation where doctor's autonomy in Italy is undermined by political power.

    THE "...

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  • Is research for improvement in palliative medicine necessarily moral?
    Colin Parker

    Given the sincerity and commitment of all parties in debate it is important to test the coherence of the principles or arguments guiding any policy. For example, is medical paternalism or participant autonomy desirable or even necessary in the development of medical science? Such questions are considered in the context of palliative medicine to analyse some moral arguments intended to show how to improve clinical practi...

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  • The "Pure Process" Procedural Approach to Medical Futility
    Thaddeus M Pope

    Dr. Morati provides a nice history of the function of the notion of "futility." But she seems to ignore this very history when moving from the descriptive to the normative section of her article.

    Looking to the USA, Dr. Morati rightly observes that there has been a major shift to a "procedural" approach to medical futility disputes. But she mischaracterizes exactly what that approach entails. In defining the circumstanc...

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  • Dr. Gershon is Off Base
    Elizabeth L Maloney

    It is ironic that Dr. Gershon, president of the IDSA, would decree the article by Johnson and Stricker to be full of “inaccuracies and misleading information” only to mislead readers using inaccurate information. A look at the science may be enlightening.

    The IDSA holds that Lyme disease is easily cured, yet data from treatment trials cited in the 2006 IDSA guidelines suggests otherwise. The issue of persiste...

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  • Three cheers
    Amelia M Withington MD

    I am wholeheartedly in agreement with Dr. Stricker's and Ms. Johnson's response to Dr. Gershon's letter. Lyme Disease and its associated conditions are extremely complex illnesses, and patients who are suffering from them have their suffering exacerbated by misguided attempts to "treat ideologically".

    Just last week, a new patient gave me the history that her clotted 'pic' line was ignored for hours by an ER p...

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