Once a taboo subject, death and dying has been considered not only a possible but a healthy topic of discussion since the pioneering work of Dr. Elizabeth Kübler‐Ross with dying patients in Chicago beginning in 1965. Since then, the widely publicized court case of the comatose young Karen Ann Quinlan, the growth of the hospice movement, and the rise of groups asserting a person's right to choose the moment and manner of death rather than undergo the prolonged suffering of terminal illness have fueled public interest. Media attention reflects this increasing public awareness—the popular 60 Minutes televised interviews with both hospice people and supporters of the right‐to‐die; a “Dear Abby” newspaper column drew over 40,000 requests to the Society for the Right to Die for information on living wills.
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