I feel compelled to respond to Lisa Day’s recent article titled “Questions Concerning the Goodness of Hastening Death” (May 2006: 312–314). Day expresses concern about a growing trend to accept hastening death as an option for care. She proposes that we should not use logical or analytical methods to make ethical decisions for seriously ill and/or dying patients. She suggests, instead, that we should create a belief from the uncertainty of death and base our actions on that belief.

Without logical analysis, however, we are left with illogical, random methods for decision making. Belief, by definition, asks us to accept as true something for which there is no evidence. But when it comes to my patients—and to me, for that matter—I believe that healthcare decisions must be based on a logical analysis of what is actually known.

After disparaging...

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