Euthanasia: A Reference Handbook

Euthanasia: A Reference Handbook

Euthanasia: A Reference Handbook

Euthanasia: A Reference Handbook

Excerpt

People approach euthanasia and other end-of-life issues in different ways. For a student assigned a paper, these issues are merely academic topics to be studied, researched, and addressed for presentation to a teacher or professor. For a casual observer, a newspaper article or conversation regarding end-oflife issues may lead to introspection. Such examination of oneā€™s personal feelings about these issues may lead the individual to the conclusion that issues related to the end of life should not be left to chance. If this is the case, the individual may make decisions and prepare documents to cover some of the medical contingencies that may arise at the end of life. Finally, for a person dealing with his or her own end-of-life issues or those of a loved one, these issues frame the final months, weeks, days, and even hours of life. In cases like this, end-of-life issues are reality; they may even include a momentous choice between vastly different courses of action, such as making a final effort to prolong life or making a request for assistance in committing suicide.

This book aims to assist people at all points along this spectrum. Whether the reader is a student conducting research, a legislator considering a bill, or a person facing a terminal illness, the following chapters contain information that will be invaluable in sorting through these issues. In addition to discussing the complexities surrounding end-of-life issues, this book contains valuable factual information, such as a chronology of events, a directory of organizations, and resources for additional study.

Chapter 1 focuses on the background and history of euthanasia in the United States, including an examination of the nuances of end-of-life issues, relevant terminology, and the histo-

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