I do not believe this is only an issue of us providing better care for the dying [“Medical assistance in dying: Living with dignity until life naturally ends,” BCMJ 2016;59:49]. Although I agree that we need to study how to do this better. What I firmly believe is that what is at issue is both how and when a dying person chooses to die. In deciding how to die, is it any different than choosing how to live (i.e., with or without treatments offered)? These dying people are making an active choice in how they want to feel in their final moments. Who are we to say they are wrong?
And in choosing when, they can be sure to have the setting as they choose also. That is, their loved ones can arrange to be with them, in a room or place they like, with special music playing to send them off, or special visual effects or other scenarios. If they die naturally, their loved ones may be at work, in another city, or sleeping.
The issue of autonomy is what I value about the new law.
Also, just because some patients choose to die naturally does not mean that others should not be able to die when and how they wish.
—Mary Donlevy, MD
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org