Suffering and Dignity in the Twilight of Life

B. Ars,

Suffering and Dignity in the Twilight of Life
 
 
This book is intended for everyone, but in particular for caregivers who are in the front line of the problem regarding the end of life and euthanasia. By presenting a critical analysis of the debate from a multidisciplinary perspective, the aim of this work is to provide a positive message about the therapeutic relationship at the end of life. Far from presenting an impenetrable tome or encyclopedia on the subject, our goal was to provide food for thought with sufficient information presented in what we hope to be a sober, thoughtful, and pedagogical manner. Thus, we have chosen not to discuss numerous very interesting questions that would have been beyond our goals. You will not find anything in the following pages about the etymology or history of the term 'euthanasia', or about the religious point of view, medical codes of ethics, opinions of national ethics committees, or even about the laws of countries where euthanasia was legalized before being outlawed (Australia), or is being seriously considered, sometimes in a bill that is already before parliament. In these pages, we are hoping to achieve a multidisciplinary book which will be regarded as a synthesis, offering a serene and positive vision of the end of life. The book is divided into three parts: the first, written by various physicians and a nurse, describes the different medical approaches to the 'end of life' now in existence, as well as possible treatments against pain and suffering. The second part, written by lawyers, provides a critical analysis of existing legislation in the only countries/states that have legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide: the State of Oregon in the USA, The Netherlands, and Belgium. The third and final part is a philosophical reflection on the dignity of the 'end of life' and places euthanasia in its anthropological, ethical, and sociopolitical context.


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