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In a 1988 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association an article titled Its Over Debbie describes how an anonymous doctor administers a fatal dose of morphine to a woman dying of ovarian cancer Anonymous 1988 In a 1989 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine ten doctors associated with the nations leading hospitals and medical schools declare their belief that it is not immoral for a physician to assist in the rational suicide of a terminally ill person Wanzer et al 1989 In 1991 the New England Journal of Medicine published a detailed account written by Dr Timothy Quill which discussed his decision to help a patient suffering from leukemia commit suicide Quill 1991 In 1990 Dr Jack Kervorkian uses his suicide machine to help a woman suffering from Alzheimers disease one Janet Adkins end her life in the back of a Volkswagen bus Risen 1990 Janet was the first of twenty patients who have been aided by Kervorkian in the past three years He remains committed to his practice In 1991 the Hemlock Society publishes a how-to manual on committing suicide Entitled Final Exit it zooms to the top of the national best seller lists and stays there for several weeks Altman 1991Each of these events has served to provoke ever widening media coverage of the issues surrounding euthanasia and physician assisted suicide and a national debate has arisen around these practices This debate is not merely limited to attorneys and physicians Suddenly these issues and this debate are now a part of life in mainstream America and many Americans face dilemmas that did not exist in simpler times dilemmas that many would rather not have to faceEuthanasia The Nature of the DebateIt is this sudden change in the way Americans are dealing with death the nature and scope of the debate about dying which prompts this analysis of the issues surrounding euthanasia This debate is largely a debate about
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