DEFINING THE RIGHT TO DIE

COURTS OPEN THE WAY TO PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE. NOW DOCTORS HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT MEANS

DR. BRY BENJAMIN WILL NEVER FORGET the first time he helped a patient commit suicide. It was more than a quarter-century ago. An elderly couple came to his office, husband and wife, both terminally ill and in terrible agony with cancer. "They told me they would like a supply of pills on hand just in case," recalls the 71-year-old New York City internist. The law forbade him to agree; his conscience dictated otherwise. In the end, his conscience won, but Benjamin had to wrestle with this ethical dilemma alone. At the time, doctors didn't even whisper among themselves about assisted suicide,...

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