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J R Soc Med. 1995 January; 88(1): 18–19.
PMCID: PMC1295067

Acts of commission, omission, and demission or pulling the plug.

Abstract

The difference between withholding and withdrawing treatment and actively killing is analysed. The intention of the physician and the effect on the patient are similar but the wider effect on others is different. The harmful effects of withdrawing life-preserving treatment which is no longer beneficial can be reduced by clarification of its purpose. This is to prolong life with value to the patient not just existence.

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