Final Wishes: A Cautionary Tale on Death,
Dignity & Physician-Assisted Suicide
A narrative exploration of physician-assisted suicide: Patrick is dying a slow, agonizing death. He wants his friend, Dr. Ron Grey, to help him--but not to help him get better. Instead Patrick wants Ron to help him end his suffering by helping him to end his life. This is the premise of a story that Paul Chamberlain employs to reveal the ethical and emotional complexities of a movement that is gaining supporters daily. It is a story that sends Ron Grey on a difficult journey across a continent and through a minefield of conflicting ideas and values. Should people have a legal right to choose the time of their death? Can adequate safeguards be employed to protect the public from potential abuses of physician-assisted suicide laws? What does it mean for people to die with dignity? Will people feel an obligation to not burden their families with their prolonged illness? What has been the experience in the Netherlands, which has had a physician-assisted suicide law for over twenty-five years? What about the possibility of misdiagnosis? Is there a legitimate public interest in what appears to be a purely private act? Can morality be legislated at all? All of these vital issues are clearly and carefully considered. Yet as we move through the legal, political, medical and ethical questions, we also see the personal side of these topics played out in the context of a caring family and a deep friendship. Here is a timely and helpful book on one of the most controversial concerns of our day. Paul Chamberlain (Ph.D., Marquette University) is executive director for Canada for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He has also been associate professor of ethics and political philosophy at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He is also the author of Can We Be Good Without God?