KNOWING WHEN TO STOP

DOCTORS GO TO HEROIC LENGTHS TO KEEP TERMINALLY ILL PATIENTS ALIVE--OFTEN AGAINST THEIR WISHES

IN HOSPITALS ACROSS THE U.S., DOCTORS ignore, or are unaware of, the last wishes of dying patients, needlessly prolonging their pain and suffering. That is the disturbing conclusion of a massive study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "There is a tragic mismatch between the health care many seriously ill people want and what they get," says the University of Virginia's Dr. William Knaus, co-director of the study. "We don't know when or how to stop."

In the initial phase of the study, which was conducted with a $28 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson...

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