Seduced by Death: Doctors, Patients, and the Dutch Cure
 
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Seduced by Death: Doctors, Patients, and the Dutch Cure [Hardcover]

Herbert Hendin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)


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Book Description

January 1997
Examines the use of euthanasia and assisted suicide that have been in common practice in the Netherlands for more than twenty years and explores its implications for patients, their families, and medical practitioners.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The "Dutch Cure" referred to in the title of this powerful, unsettling study is, of course, euthanasia. A psychiatrist and an authority on suicide, Hebert Hendlin uses the example of the Netherlands, where physician-assisted suicide has been legal for years, to examine the current debate over euthanasia in the United States. For Hendlin, the Dutch solution creates a slippery slope toward outright killing, a term from which he does not shrink. This conclusion is supported by statistics showing that some 2,300 deaths annually in the Netherlands are ":outright euthanasia." Hendin goes on to examine prominent American legal cases, including the notorious Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and make a convincing case that the dynamics of patient-physician interaction at the close of life make reasoned, humane decisions about assisted suicide all but impossible. Hendin's book will not convince everyone, but it lays down a powerful argument for opponents to grapple with.

From Publishers Weekly

Advocates of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia for terminally ill or chronically suffering patients often point to the Netherlands as a model, the only Western industrialized country that has embraced these practices. Hendin, a New York City psychiatrist and executive director of the American Suicide Foundation, whose goal is suicide prevention, traveled to Holland to research this important and alarming report. He found that Dutch doctors aggressively market physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia; that mercy killing has become almost a routine way of dealing with serious or terminal illness, even with grief; that the Dutch accept assisted suicide for depressed, suicidal psychotherapy patients who do not respond quickly to treatment; and that many wrongful deaths occur as doctors increasingly exercise paternalistic control over patients. Despite official guidelines and safeguards, there are more than 1000 cases a year of Dutch doctors actively causing or hastening death at their discretion?without the patient's request?according to a Dutch government-commissioned study. In the U.S., Hendin believes, legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia would make large numbers of the poor, minority groups and older people especially vulnerable to pressure by family, physicians, hospitals and nursing homes. As an alternative, he recommends palliative care in a hospice or at home, plus advance directives?a living will and a health-care proxy stipulating what you would want done should you become incapable of making decisions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc; 1st edition (January 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393040038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393040036
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,789,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For relief from life: ask your doctor July 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Hendin, a psychiatrist, investigates the practice of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS) in the Netherlands. He does an excellent job of researching and understanding the Dutch medical system, in spite of the obvious obstacles of language and time limits.

Euthanasia is defined by Dutch law as the termination of the life of a patient at his own request by a physician. It is not legal, but under certain conditions the physician is granted immunity from prosecution, namely when the patient, who must be competent and have no mental illness, is suffering unbearably from a somatic, terminal disease. In addition, certain bureaucratic procedures must be satisfied, such as obtaining a second opinion by another physician, and the filing of a report to the proper authority after the fact. PAS is when under the same conditions, the doctor provides the patient with a deadly drug that the patient takes himself.

Hendin is vehemently opposed to this practice, although he is not motivated by a religious view of the sanctity of life. He does not oppose withholding from "brain dead" patients treatment the physician (but not the patient's family) considers futile, and even suggests that physicians are justified in denying it when the family demands it. He also does not oppose treatments for pain management, even when it is obvious that they will speed up death. He even seems accepting of withholding nourishment and hydration from dying patients. Rather, he feels that actively terminating patients' lives or assisting them in terminating their own lives leads to pressuring patients to ask for death.
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