physician assisted suicide

The groundbreaking book, Last Wish was a New York Times Bestseller and a Book Of The Month Club Featured Alternate. The expanded 1998 edition includes current background material on the debate over physician-assisted suicide, a list of resource organizations, the complete text of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, and a question list about issues for use in discussion groups and classrooms.

This is the revised edition of TV journalist Betty Rollin's memoir of her mother Ida's two-and-a-half year struggle with ovarian cancer, ending with Ida's decision to end her own life. Reading like a novel, the story paints a realistic picture of difficult cancer chemotherapy and Betty's choice to help her mother commit suicide. The story is moving, engrossing, and even funny by turns, showing how family bonds intensified in response to the illness.

Last Wish is also a case study in failure of medical providers to provide effective symptom management and psychological support, leaving the family feeling like criminals as they explore the only solutions which seemed available to them at the time. Palliative care professionals will see much that could have been done differently in Ida's treatment, and will argue that she might not have desired suicide if she had received more aggressive comfort care and hospice services (hospice care was not readily available in this case).

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