JOSEPH E. SCHERGER, M.D.
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To the editor: I found the article by K. Danner Clouser, "Allowing or Causing: Another Look" (Ann Intern Med 87:622-624, 1977), quite interesting. I agree with his position that the difference between "allowing to die" and "causing to die" is subtle. However, I object to his notion that "it is the doctor's obligation to do all he can to save," and that if the physician recedes from this, he ethically becomes a layman.
It has become axiomatic in medicine that the physician will cure sometimes, but comfort always. As eloquently described by Peabody (1), the caring role of a physician
SCHERGER JE. Allowing or Causing Death. Ann Intern Med. ;88:270–271. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-88-2-270_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(2):270-271.
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