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Hosp J. 1997;12(2):17-24.

Will assisted suicide kill hospice?

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  • 1Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, PA 19104, USA.


Hospice is often held out as an alternative to the need for assisted suicide. To date, those in the hospice movement have made any discussion of assistance in dying off-limits on the grounds that proper palliative care can address the concerns about pain that the terminally ill face. But, the movement toward assisted suicide raises questions about the future viability of the hospice movement in its current form. Many who see assistance in dying are concerned, not about pain, but about suffering and loss of dignity. Many are not terminally ill but terrified at the prospect of disability and loss of cognitive capacities. Unless hospice addresses these concerns it is not likely to survive in the face of pressures to legalize assisted suicide.

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