“I asked him to bring me a gun, and he wanted to know why,” Mr. Cowart later told an interviewer. “I told him, ‘Can’t you see I’m a dead man? I’m going to die anyway, I’ve got to put myself out of this misery.’ He said, in a very caring way, ‘I can’t do that.’ It was the first of many times that Mr. Cowart, who was 25 then, would beg to be allowed to die.”

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Dr. Donald A. Henderson, a leader of one of mankind’s greatest public health triumphs, the eradication of smallpox, died on Friday in Towson, Md. He was 87. Long after the disease was officially declared eradicated in 1980, he remained in the field as a dean of what is now the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and as an adviser on bioterrorism to several presidents

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A plain-spoken philosopher who preached that doctors should consider fairness and morality, as well as medical issues, in making life-or-death decisions about patient care, died on Monday in Galveston, Tex. He was 69.

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