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An Analysis of Arguments for and Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Part One

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2009

David C. Thomasma
Fr. Michael I. English S.J. Professor of Medical Ethics, and Director of the Medical Humanities Program at Loyola University Chicago Medical Center.


In advanced technological societies there is growing concern about the prospect of protracted deaths marked by incapacitation, intolerable pain and indignity, and invasion by machines and tubing. Life prolongation for critically ill cancer patients in the United States, for example, literally costs a fortune for very little benefit, typically from $82,845 to $189,339 for an additional year of life. Those who return home after major interventions live on average only 3 more months; the others live out their days in a hospital intensive care unit.

Special Section: Physician-Aided Death: The Escalating Debate
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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