Death With Dignity

Death With Dignity

Ethical and Practical Considerations for Caregivers of the Terminally Ill

Book - 2010
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End-of-life issues and questions are complex and frequently cause confusion and anxiety.  In Death with Dignity,theologian, medical ethicist, and pastoral caregiver Peter A. Clark examines numerous issues that are pertinent to patients, family members, and health care professionals, including physiology, consciousness, the definition of death, the distinction between extraordinary and ordinary means, medical futility, &;Do Not Resuscitate&; orders, living wills, power of attorney, pain assessment and pain management, palliative and hospice care, the role of spirituality in end-of-life care, and physicians&; communication with terminal patients. Patients, family members, medical students, and health care professionals will find in Death with Dignity thepractical and ethical knowledge they need to capably and confidently cope with end-of-life challenges.


End-of-life issues and questions are complex and frequently cause confusion and anxiety.  In Death with Dignity, theologian, medical ethicist, and pastoral caregiver Peter A. Clark examines numerous issues that are pertinent to patients, family members, and health care professionals, including physiology, consciousness, the definition of death, the distinction between extraordinary and ordinary means, medical futility, “Do Not Resuscitate” orders, living wills, power of attorney, pain assessment and pain management, palliative and hospice care, the role of spirituality in end-of-life care, and physicians’ communication with terminal patients. Patients, family members, medical students, and health care professionals will find in Death with Dignity the practical and ethical knowledge they need to capably and confidently cope with end-of-life challenges.



Blackwell Publishing
The culture of death in the United States has changed over the decades. Throughout most of the twentieth century, people died primarily at home, and their loved ones, their physician, their minister, priest, or rabbi, and the community assumed responsibility. With the advent of technology and the cultural shift toward individual autonomy, our understanding of dying and death changed. The location of death shifted to the hospital where the latest advances in medicine and technology are initiated and physicians have become the gatekeepers. Consequently, although the intention of the patient's family and physician is to give the best medical treatment available, in reality, they are denying the patient the best of care. The result has been that many individuals are dying without the dignity and respect they deserve. Instead of being surrounded by loved ones with their symptoms adequately assessed and managed, they are often dying alone, alienated, and dehumanized, connected to all types of sophisticated, yet burdensome and expensive technology. As a Jesuit priest, and for the past twelve years, the bioethicist for the Mercy Health System in Philadelphia, Father Peter Smith, SJ., has come to see how ill-prepared most patients and family members are regarding end-of-life matters. At a time when health care professionals should he a source of information and comfort for patients and their families, they are often the cause of their confusion and uncertainty. Instead of feeling comforted and supported at the end of life, patients and family members often feel abandoned and lost.

In this book. Fr. Smith addresses the complex and often confusing issues associated with the end of life in a practical way so that patients, family members, and health care professionals will have some guidance in dealing with such issues. His focus is on doing what is medically and ethically appropriate so that patients can die with dignity and respect.

Publisher: Scranton : University of Scranton Press ; Chicago : Distribution, University of Scranton Press, Chicago Distribution Center, c2010
ISBN: 9781589662148
1589662148
Characteristics: 251 p. ; 23 cm

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