Behavior: Choosing Death

Giving burn patients the say

A woman, admitted to the hospital with severe burns covering 95% of her body, asks a doctor if she is going to die. The physician replies carefully that although he cannot predict the future, survival in cases like hers is unprecedented. Does the woman want ordinary medical care or maximum-effort treatment, involving the use of life-prolonging machines? She chooses the ordinary care, consisting basically of painkillers and intravenous fluids, and dies quietly within hours.

This procedure, allowing terminal burn patients to choose death, in effect, sooner rather than later, has been in use at the Los Angeles County-University...

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