Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make

Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make

by Nan Bauer-Maglin
     
 

Today most people die gradually, from incremental illnesses, rather than from the heart attacks or fast-moving diseases that killed earlier generations. Given this new reality, the essays in Final Acts explore how we can make informed and caring end-of-life choices for ourselves and for those we love-and the consequences of dying without such

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Overview

Today most people die gradually, from incremental illnesses, rather than from the heart attacks or fast-moving diseases that killed earlier generations. Given this new reality, the essays in Final Acts explore how we can make informed and caring end-of-life choices for ourselves and for those we love-and the consequences of dying without such planning.

Contributors include patients, caretakers, physicians, journalists, lawyers, social workers, educators, hospital administrators, psychologists, and a poet. Among them are ethicists, religious believers, and nonbelievers. Some write moving, personal accounts of "good" or "bad" deaths; others examine the ethical, social, and political implications of slow dying. Essays consider death from natural causes, suicide, and aid-in-dying (assisted suicide).

Without technical jargon, the contributors discuss necessary documents; making decisions about such things as medical interventions, palliative care, and hospice; and the roles played by family, friends, caretakers, custom, money, religion, the medical establishment, and the government.

For those who yearn for some measure of control over dying, the essayists in Final Acts, from very different backgrounds, offer insight and hope.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813546278
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2009
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Nan Bauer-Maglin was formerly a professor of English, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, and academic director of the CUNY Baccalaureate Program. She is the coeditor of "Bad Girls/Good Girls": Women, Sex, and Power in the Nineties (with Donna Perry), Women Confronting Retirement: A Nontraditional Guide, and Cut Loose: (Mostly) Older Women on the End of Their (Mostly) Long-Term Relationships (Rutgers University Press).

Donna Perry, a professor of English, teaches literature, writing, and women's studies courses at William Paterson University. She is the editor of Backtalk: Women Writers Speak Out and coeditor (with Nan Bauer-Maglin) of "Bad Girls/Good Girls": Women, Sex, and Power in the Nineties (Rutgers University Press).

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction 1

Part 1 Personal Stories 13

Notes on My Dying Ruthann Robson 19

Live Longer or Live Better? June Bingham 29

"Life which is ours to know just once" Nancy Barnes 33

Caregiving Beulah: A Relentless Challenge Susan Perlstein 55

E-mails to Family and Friends: Claude and Maxilla-Declining Gently Sara M. Evans 67

Whose Death is it, Anyway? Carol K. Oyster 91

The Family Tree Jean Levitan 111

Elegy for an Optimist Mimi Schwartz 123

Buddhist Reflections on Life and Death: A Personal Memoir Alan Pope 126

Death as My Colleague Mary Jumbelic 139

Part 2 Perspectives 149

The Transformation of Death in America Stephen P. Kiernan 163

Unintended Consequences: Hospice, Hospitals, and the Not-So-Good Death Kathryn Temple 183

The Hospital Ethics Committee: Solving Medical Dilemmas Natalie R. Hannon 204

Ethical Principles for End-of-Life Decision Making Candace Cummins Gauthler 220

Life or Death: Who Gets to Choose? Cherylynn MacGregor 238

Empowering Patients at the End of Life: Law, Advocacy, Policy Kathryn L. Tucker 252

Dying Down Under: From Law Reform to the Peaceful Pill Philip Nitschke Fiona Stewart 268

Ageism and Late-Life Choices Margaret Crufkshank 288

Physician-Assisted Suicide: Why Both Sides Are Wrong Ira Byock 301

End of days Marge Piercy 312

About the Editors and Contributors 315

Index 321

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