Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Robert Orfali's Death with Dignity

In his new book, Death with Dignity: The Case for Legalizing Physician-Assisted Dying and Euthanasia, Robert Orfali makes a compelling argument for physician –assisted dying and euthanasia.  Orfali was inspired to explore and write about euthanasia after his soulmate, Jeri, died of ovarian cancer, leaving him haunted by the 16 hours of torturous agony that she experienced at the end, firmly believing that the suffering was unnecessary and that there had to have been a better way for her to die.

Death with Dignity is a thought-provoking exploration of the euthanasia debate, examining all sides of the issue, asking and answering some of the important topics pertaining to the issue: Does it devalue human life?  Does it violate the Hippocratic Oath?  Could there be a misdiagnosis?  Is the decision truly voluntary?

Among the issues delved into, Orfali addresses whether or not there is the possibility for discrimination against various marginalized groups of society, whether or not we are on a slippery slope to Nazi Eugenics, and other hot-button topics that get to the heart of the controversy.  Each topic addressed is presented with a point and counter-point, presenting the reader with all facets of the argument and allowing them to choose the one that they find the most logical or most aligned with their personal beliefs.  Readers are also given valuable insight into our present system and its shortcomings, starkly contrasted with the “good death” that may be on the horizon and what it will take for society to reach that point.

While many of these debates have been around for as long as euthanasia has, Orfali gives readers the most complete source of information and issues, most thought-provoking presentation of them, and fresh, original thoughts founded on the latest data from Oregon and the Netherlands.  For readers from both sides of the debate, as well as those who are wavering somewhere in the middle, uncertain as to who to side with, Death with Dignity is a must-read.