John La Puma, MD; David L. Schiedermayer, MD
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To the Editors: We report the case of a patient whose access to life-sustaining treatment was nearly blocked, motivated in part by financial benefit, by his girlfriend-legal proxy.
An 81-year-old widower had cardiomyopathy and renal failure. His girlfriend lived nearby and visited nightly. He worked as a professional bookmaker, and traveled annually to Las Vegas. He had not seen his two sisters in 8 years. His girlfriend insisted that he not be dialyzed; his sisters insisted that he should be dialyzed. A social worker reported the girlfriend's complaint that dialysis would "cost too much." The cardiologist asked the ethics consultant,
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La Puma J, Schiedermayer DL. The Bookie, the Girlfriend, and the Vultures. Ann Intern Med. 1991;114:98. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-1-98_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(1):98.
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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