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If That Ever Happens to Me: Making Life and Death Decisions after Terri Schiavo (Studies in Social Medicine) 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807832950
ISBN-10: 0807832952
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A thoughtful, frank, and balanced look at the [Schiavo] case itself and the larger issue of end-of-life decision making."
Doody's Review Service

"A thought-provoking, balanced personal and professional reflection on what has come to be known as the 'Schiavo case.' . . . Recommended."
Choice

"The sensitive presentation of facts and narrative with values of responsibility and fairness makes this book a beacon on the convoluted path to better living and dying."
— Metapsychology Online

"The sensitive presentation of facts and narrative . . . makes this book a beacon on the convoluted path to better living and dying."
Newsletter of the National Capital Area Chapter of Compassion and Choices

"If That Ever Happens to Me is a wise and sober analysis written with the desire to draw constructive lessons from a national tragedy. Shepherd is to be congratulated for ratcheting down the red state-blue state polemics of Schiavo and for her careful parsing of the medical, legal, and bioethical dimensions of the case. To her credit, she conceives of a sensible alternative philosophy of care which will help define our collective obligations to those in liminal states of consciousness. This important formulation will lead to more proportionate care for this vulnerable population, balancing both their right to die with the right to receive care."
— Joseph J. Fins, M.D., F.A.C.P., chief, Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College

"Lois Shepherd is uniquely situated among authors who have written about the Schiavo case: a law professor from Florida with a background in end-of-life decision-making law, she did not have a vested interest in the case as it progressed. This book provides insights and offers viewpoints that, if heeded, could help heal some of the bitterness that developed during the case."
— Kathy L. Cerminara, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center

"In this masterful account of the interminable legal, political, and familial wranglings over the use of a feeding tube for Terri Schiavo, Lois Shepherd calmly explains why Americans continue to be perplexed when forced to make treatment decisions for relatives who are in a permanent vegetative state."
— George J. Annas, author of American Bioethics

"Lois Shepherd has given us a thoughtful, nuanced and overarchingly accessible guide to one of the most difficult decisions any of us will ever have to make—the termination of life-prolonging medical treatment. She has taken the Schiavo case, too often a source of anger and heat, and created a resource of understanding and light."
— Kenneth W. Goodman, director and professor, University of Miami Bioethics Program; editor o fThe Strange, Sad Case of Terri Schiavo: Ethics, Politics and Death in the Twenty-first Century

Review

Lois Shepherd is uniquely situated among authors who have written about the Schiavo case: a law professor from Florida with a background in end-of-life decision-making law, she did not have a vested interest in the case as it progressed. This book provides insights and offers viewpoints that, if heeded, could help heal some of the bitterness that developed during the case.--Kathy L. Cerminara, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center



If That Ever Happens to Me is a wise and sober analysis written with the desire to draw constructive lessons from a national tragedy. Shepherd is to be congratulated for ratcheting down the red state-blue state polemics of Schiavo and for her careful parsing of the medical, legal, and bioethical dimensions of the case. To her credit, she conceives of a sensible alternative philosophy of care which will help define our collective obligations to those in liminal states of consciousness. This important formulation will lead to more proportionate care for this vulnerable population, balancing both their right to die with the right to receive care.--Joseph J. Fins, M.D., F.A.C.P., chief, Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College



In this masterful account of the interminable legal, political, and familial wranglings over the use of a feeding tube for Terri Schiavo, Lois Shepherd calmly explains why Americans continue to be perplexed when forced to make treatment decisions for relatives who are in a permanent vegetative state.--George J. Annas, author of American Bioethics



Lois Shepherd has given us a thoughtful, nuanced and overarchingly accessible guide to one of the most difficult decisions any of us will ever have to make--the termination of life-prolonging medical treatment. She has taken the Schiavo case, too often a source of anger and heat, and created a resource of understanding and light.--Kenneth W. Goodman, director and professor, University of Miami Bioethics Program; editor of The Strange, Sad Case of Terri Schiavo: Ethics, Politics and Death in the Twenty-first Century

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Social Medicine
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807832952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807832950
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Shepherd's book is a readable, thoughtful, balanced look at the strange, sad case of Terri Schiavo, peeling back the media attention and hysteria to look at the fundamental aspects of how should we treat such cases from the viewpoint of patients, loved ones and society as a whole. The author strikes the right balance of legal and bio-ethical expertise and just plain common sense, offering suggestions that differentiate between those patients in permanent vegetative states (as Terri was) and those terminally ill, profoundly disabled or in states of minimal consciousness. One of the book's great attributes is Shepherd's willingness (rare in my experience) to second-guess even her own suggestions, while at the same time recognizing that everyone comes to this issue with differing viewpoints, insights, fears and beliefs. Her approach of thoughtful, factual, almost individualized assessment of such difficult cases seems clear-headed, reasonable and a guiding light for our policy-makers. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I am surprised to be among the first reviewers of this fine, thought-provoking book. Perhaps I shouldn't be -- it is, after all, a university press publication but it deserves a much wider audience.

The author focuses on the tragic (and highly publicized) case of Terri Schiavo as a springboard for a broader, in-depth examination of the complex issues surrounding the treatment of patients in a "permanent vegetative state" (not the ideal term but one which has entered the medical lexicon). As a law professor, Shepherd is able to explain the reasoning behind various courts' decisions in this area and the significance of relevant legislation, legal concepts and documents (such as "living wills"). Unlike the typical lawyer, however, she does so in a way which is clearly understandable to the layperson (but without dumbing it down). And the law, though important, is not the heart of the book. Instead, the author takes a multidisciplinary approach (she is also an associate professor of public health sciences) and draws upon numerous sources and perspectives in considering the medical, ethical, philosophical and cultural aspects of end-of-life care.

From time to time, Shepherd adopts the first person point of view, using examples from her own life to illustrate a particular point. Normally I cringe when authors do this but perhaps due to the intimate nature of the subject matter, she pulls it off -- the device is especially effective when she discusses the changes in her own thinking over the years as she went through the process of drafting a living will for herself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book, however reads "like a lawyer" talks. Fortunately I have some legal experience so it's easier to understand, but if you are confused about legal terms and processes, it may be a more difficult read. Definitely provides good information and insight into a highly publicized case.
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