Unplugged: Reclaiming Our Right to Die in America

By William H. Colby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
How We Die in America Toda

THE POINT OF the first half of this book is that the hard questions raised by a case like Terri Schiavo’s are blindingly new for humankind. They’ve come at society in a remarkable rush of technological change. They are enormously complex. And the black and white of the law is no place to find answers to such humanly nuanced, gray-area questions.

I often hear people in the field of bioethics claim that society has worked on the issues raised in a case like Terri Schiavo’s for “a long time” without significant progress. My reaction is the opposite. It strikes me that the questions brought on by medical technology have come upon us in a relatively short time, and that society is at the beginning of even grasping their dimension and complexity, let alone coming up with satisfactory answers.

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