The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die

The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die

by Katie Engelhart
The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die

The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die

by Katie Engelhart


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“A remarkably nuanced, empathetic, and well-crafted work of journalism, [The Inevitable] explores what might be called the right-to-die underground, a world of people who wonder why a medical system that can do so much to try to extend their lives can do so little to help them end those lives in a peaceful and painless way.”—Brooke Jarvis, The New Yorker

More states and countries are passing right-to-die laws that allow the sick and suffering to end their lives at pre-planned moments, with the help of physicians. But even where these laws exist, they leave many people behind. The Inevitable moves beyond margins of the law to the people who are meticulously planning their final hours—far from medical offices, legislative chambers, hospital ethics committees, and polite conversation. It also shines a light on the people who help them: loved ones and, sometimes, clandestine groups on the Internet that together form the “euthanasia underground.”

Katie Engelhart, a veteran journalist, focuses on six people representing different aspects of the right to die debate. Two are doctors: a California physician who runs a boutique assisted death clinic and has written more lethal prescriptions than anyone else in the U.S.; an Australian named Philip Nitschke who lost his medical license for teaching people how to end their lives painlessly and peacefully at “DIY Death” workshops. The other four chapters belong to people who said they wanted to die because they were suffering unbearably—of old age, chronic illness, dementia, and mental anguish—and saw suicide as their only option.

Spanning North America, Europe, and Australia, The Inevitable offers a deeply reported and fearless look at a morally tangled subject. It introduces readers to ordinary people who are fighting to find dignity and authenticity in the final hours of their lives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250201461
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/02/2021
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,085,985
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Katie Engelhart is a journalist and documentary filmmaker, based in Toronto and New York City. She is also a National Fellow at New America. She was the recipient of the 2021 George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting and the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic and many other publications. Previously, she was a graduate student of History and Philosophy at Oxford University.

Table of Contents

A Note on Sources xi

Introduction 1

1 Modern Medicine 21

2 Age 61

3 Body 99

4 Memory 142

5 Mind 180

6 Freedom 227

The End 272

Acknowledgments 285

A Timeline 287

Notes 291

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