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Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die Paperback – January 15, 2006
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"Smith fears that euthanasia will eventually become ... legally enforceable... and warns against the degeneration of essential human values." -- Library Journal
"Thoughtful and provocative." -- Booklist
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Smith persuasively shows that he basic ideals that the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement hope to carve into federal and state laws through litigation and legislation are detrimental to the equality-of-life ethic that has long been recognized in this nation. In Forced Exit, Smith gives readers a strong defense of that important ethic. That ethic makes clear that the elderly, the sick and the disabled have as much importance, dignity, and worth than the young and the healthy.
Importantly, Smith provides solutions to the dilemmas faced by patients at life's so-called margins. Steps must be taken to educate doctors about how to recognize depression in patients and that depression must be treated. Current medical practice must place greater emphasis upon pain control, since palliative measures can significantly reduce--if not eliminate--the physical pain felt by many patients who have serious injuries or illness.
The false notion that assisted suicide somehow furthers patient autonomy is exploded by Smith. Through principled analysis and through countless concrete case studies, he demonstrates that the wishes of the sick, elderly, and disabled are all too often given short or ignored when it comes to important medical decisions. Smith describes the crucial distinction between the right to refuse unwanted life-saving medical procedures and the so-called "right to die"--proactive measures specifically intended to end life. Also, Smith deftly explains how administering food and water to patients is separate and distinct from medical measures.
Forced Exit receives my strongest recommendation.
Stephen Phillips MD, MA Bioethics