Charles R. Routh, MD
The Editors welcome submissions for possible publication in the Letters section. Authors of letters should:
•Include no more than 300 words of text, three authors, and five references
•Type with double-spacing
•Send three copies of the letter, an authors' form signed by all authors, and a cover letter describing any conflicts of interest related to the contents of the letter.
Letters commenting on an Annals article will be considered if they are received within 6 weeks of the time the article was published. Only some of the letters received can be published. Published letters are edited and may be shortened; tables and figures are included only selectively. Authors will be notified that the letter has been received. If the letter is selected for publication, the author will be notified about 3 weeks before the publication date. Unpublished letters cannot be returned.
Annals welcomes electronically submitted letters.
Routh CR. Whose Death Is It, Anyway. Ann Intern Med. 1997;126:586. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-126-7-199704010-00021
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1997;126(7):586.
TO THE EDITOR:
I enjoyed the essay by Hansot  and the related article by Gilligan and Raffin . However, I believe it is misleading to imply that had the patient, family, and physician known that the patient had a living will, this nightmare would have been avoided.
Most living wills go into effect only if the patient has a “terminal illness.” Therein lies the rub. What is a terminal illness? What about an 87-year-old man who is slightly hypokalemic and fibrillates within hours of his first inferior myocardial infarction? Is this a terminal illness for which we invoke the living will and do not defibrillate? The point is, either I'm a bad doctor or many of us simply can't tell when a given illness or situation should be considered “terminal” and thus necessitate invocation of the living will.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only