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ss triple helix - Easter 2009,  Against Physician Assisted Suicide.

Against Physician Assisted Suicide.

Against Physician Assisted Suicide -
A Palliative Care Perspective
David Jeffrey
Radcliffe Publishing Ltd 2008
£14.99 Pb 120 pp
ISBN 978 1 84619 186 2

This book presents the case against physician assisted suicide (PAS) from the point of view of an experienced palliative care physician. Dr Jeffrey writes clearly, making the book accessible to both healthcare professionals and members of the public. Although the structure of some chapters is a little weak, all the major arguments are presented. Ethical and philosophical concepts are acknowledged and explained, but the book emphasises practical and patient-centred viewpoints.

The dangers of legalising PAS are described and the case made that better palliative care is the way to address the needs of the dying. Chapters on experience in Oregon and the Netherlands, and on PAS in clinical practice, are particularly compelling. A great strength of the book is that most arguments are supported by substantial reference to published research and literature, making it a valuable resource for those wishing to study in more detail.

The debate around the legalisation of PAS will not go away. All healthcare professionals who deal with dying patients owe it to themselves and their patients to understand the arguments against PAS and the evidence that substantiates them. This book would be a good place to start.

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