In 1996, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article about hospital practices in Houston, Texas. Under the procedures it described, when two doctors agree a patient should die against his will or that of his family, the patient is given 72 hours either to transfer out of the hospital or to prepare to appear before a hospital ethics committee. After hearing both sides the committee makes the life or death decision; if it is for death, the lifesaving treatment is terminated involuntarily and immediately.


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