Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Edited by Robert F. Weir
Distribution: World
Publication date: 5/1/1997
ISBN: 978-0-253-11291-0
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“The book is extremely well balanced: in each section there is usually an argument for and against the positions raised. It is a useful and well-thought-out text. It will make people think and discuss the problems raised, which I think is the editor’s main purpose.” —Journal of Medical Ethics

“. . . a volume that is to be commended for the clarity of its contributions, and for the depth it gains from its narrow focus. In places, this is a deeply moving, as well as closely argued, book.” —Times Literary Supplement

“This work is an excellent historical and philosophical resource on a very difficult subject.” —Choice

“This collection of well-written and carefully argued essays should be interesting, illuminating, and thought provoking for students, clinicians, and scholars.” —New England Journal of Medicine

“This book is highly recommended . . .” —Pharmacy Book Review

“This is a well-balanced collection and the essays are of uniformly good quality. . . . very readable. . . . should be useful to anyone interested in this topic.” —Doody’s Health Sciences Book Review Home Page

“Physician-Assisted Suicide continues in the fine tradition of the Medical Ethics series published by Indiana University Press. Chapters are authored by outstanding scholars from both sides of the debate, providing a balanced, in-depth exploration of physician-assisted suicide along clinical, ethical, historical, and public policy dimensions. It is important reading for those who want to better understand the complex, multilayered issues that underlie this emotionally-laden topic.” —Timothy Quill, M.D.

“Robert Weir has produced the finest collection of essays on physician assisted dying yet assembled in one volume. Physician assisted dying involves ethical and legal issues of enormous complexity. The deep strength of this anthology is its multi-disciplinary approach, which insightfully brings to bear interpretations from history, moral philosophy, religion, clinical practice, and law. This is a subject, much like abortion, that has divided America. This volume provides balanced scholarship that will help inform opinions from the hospital and hospice bedside to the halls of federal and state legislatures and courtrooms.” —Lawrence O. Gostin, Co-Director, Georgetown/Johns Hopkins Program on Law and Public Health

“This book is a timely and valuable contribution to the debate. Highly recommended for academic collections.” —Library Journal

These essays shed light and perspective on today’s hotly contested issue of physician-assisted suicide. The authors were selected not only because of their experience and scholarship, but also because they provide readers with differing points of view on this complex subject—and a potential moral quandary for us all.

Author Bio

Robert F. Weir is Director of the Program in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Part I. Historical Interpretations
1. The Significance of Inaccurate History in Legal Considerations of Physician-Assisted
Suicide/ Darrell W. Amundsen
2. Doctors and the Dying of Patients in American History/ Harold Y. Vanderpool

Part II. Ethical Assessments and Positions
3. Self-Extinction: The Morality of the Helping Hand/ Daniel Callahan
4. Physician-Assisted Suicide is Sometimes Morally Justified/ Dan W. Brock

Part III. Medical Practices and Perspectives
5. Physician-Assisted Suicide is Not an Acceptable Practice for Physicians/ Ira R. Byock
6. Assisting in Patient Suicides Is an Acceptable Practice for Physicians/ Howard Brody

Part IV. Potentially Vulnerable Patients
7. Physician-Assisted Death in the Context of Disability/ Kristi L. Kirschner, Carol J. Gill,
and Christine L. Cassel
8. Physician-Assisted Suicide, Abortion, and Treatment Refusal: Using Gender to Analyze
the Difference/ Susan Wolf

Part V. Public-Policy Options and Recommendations
9. Considerations of Safeguards Proposed in Laws and Guidelines to Legalize Assisted
Suicide/ Steven Miles, Demetra M. Pappas, and Robert Koepp
10. Physician-Assisted Suicide: Evolving Public Policy/ William J. Winslade

Appendixes
1. People v. Kevorkian, Supreme Court of Michigan, 1994
2. Compassion in Dying v. State of Washington, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth
Circuit, 1996
3. Quill v. Vacco, United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1996

Contributors
Index