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,
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.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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