A Gentle Death

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Key Porter Books, 1994 - Family & Relationships - 244 pages
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"I have known Marilynne Sequin since 1980 ... Her dedication to the right of a terminal patient to choose to die has been unswerving over these years, whilst her compassion and nursing skills make her one of the outstanding persons in the field."
Derek Humphry, author of "Final Exit"

For many years, Marilynne Seguin, a registered nurse, listened with growing frustration to the requests of terminally-ill patients who pleaded to be allowed to die. Like most healthcare professionals, she has been trained to believe that it was her duty to prolong life at all costs. But repeated experience over thirty years, and her own encounters with rheumatic fever and cancer, gave her a different perspective. She now provides advice and emotional support to people for whom life has become an intolerable burden.

In A Gentle Death, Marilynne Seguin draws on her experience with hundreds of seriously ill and dying people in exploring the moral and legal implications of euthanasia. She offers useful advice on working with doctors and other health-care professionals, dealing with unresolved personal conflicts and involving family members and friends in the decision-making process. To ensure understanding of the legal implications of assisted suicide Cheryl Smith discusses many aspects of U.S. law, including living wills, power of attorney, the Patient Self-Determination Act and Do Not Resuscitate orders.

The many cases used to illustrate aspects of the argument for the right to die are variously heartbreaking, inspiring and provocative. It is these stories, some painful to read, all highly personal, that place A Gentle Death at the heart of the current, controversial debate.

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About the author (1994)

Marilynne Seguin, R.N., has worked in general and private duty, intensive care and hospital administration. She is the author of textbooks dealing with legal and ethical aspects of nursing, and has published widely on many areas of caring for terminally-ill patients. She is a founding member and Executive Director of Dying with Dignity.

Cheryl K. Smith is special counsel for the Oregon Right to Die Society, as well as Director, Government Services for the Oregon Rehabilitation Association. She was Staff Attorney for the Hemlock Society for four years and has written extensively on the legal aspects of assisted suicide. She has a Juris Doctorate, with Distinction, for the University of Iowa College of Law and a B.S., Health Information Administration from Seattle University.

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