“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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Bioethics in Action

January 12, 2018

This two-part series, uses resources in The New York Times to help students explore difficult ethical questions

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People who abhor the thought of being kept alive with feeding tubes or other types of artificial nutrition and hydration have, for years, had a way out: They could officially document their wishes to halt such interventions using advance directives. But caregivers and courts have rarely honored patients’ wishes to refuse food and fluids offered by hand.

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For the analysis, published in the July issue of Health Affairs, researchers reviewed 150 studies published from 2011 to 2016 that reported on the proportion of adults who completed advance directives, focusing on living wills and health care power-of-attorney documents

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Some doctors blame patient pressure because they are concerned their children will be exposed to dangerous diseases

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