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Contributors include patients, caretakers, physicians, journalists, lawyers, social workers, educators, hospital administrators, ...
Contributors include patients, caretakers, physicians, journalists, lawyers, social workers, educators, hospital administrators, academics, psychologists, and a poet, and 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).
Writing in a style free of technical jargon, the contributors discuss documents that should be prepared (health proxy, do-not-resuscitate order, living will, power of attorney); decision-making (over medical interventions, life support, hospice and palliative care, aid-in-dying, treatment location, speaking for those who can no longer express their will); and the roles played by religion, custom, family, friends, caretakers, money, the medical establishment, and the government.
For those who yearn for some measure of control over death, the essayists in Final Acts, from very different backgrounds and with different personal and professional experiences around death and dying, offer insight and hope.
"If there's one profound lesson to be learned from Final Acts, it is that most of us are woefully uninformed and unprepared to make wise end-of-life choices. A good place to begin is by reading this book."
— Eleanor Foa Dienstag
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