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Editorials |

Hospice and Pulmonary Medicine

Peter B. Terry, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Baltimore, MD 
 ,  Dr. Terry is professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and the Bioethics Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

Correspondence to: Peter B. Terry, MD, FCCP, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Blalock 910, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, 600 North Wolf St, Baltimore, MD 21207; e-mail: pterry@welch.jhu.edu



Chest. 2002;121(1):11-12. doi:10.1378/chest.121.1.11
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In that portion of the Hippocratic Corpus called the“ Art,” physicians were warned not to treat patients “who are overmastered by their disease” at the end of life, realizing that in most cases medicine was powerless.1 In the pre-Socratic era, before the discovery of hemlock, euthanasia meant psychologically preparing a dying patient for a good death because there were no medications to alleviate physical pain or painlessly end life. Times have changed. The scientific advances of the last 2,000 years have not only given us a rational understanding of how to treat the physical suffering of the dying, but have changed our attitude about involvement in the dying process. That medicine has become more actively involved in the dying process can be seen not only in our changed notion of euthanasia, which now implies active participation in patients’ deaths, but also in the hospice and palliative-care movements.


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