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We can’t avoid death, but the prospect is a lot less terrifying since the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physician-assisted death. Competent adults suffering grievously from intolerable medical conditions will have the right to ask for a doctor’s help in ending their lives. That much is clear. The challenge now is to pass legislation that reflects this landmark decision and develop regulations that reconcile the Charter rights of both doctors and patients. If we get the balance right between compassion for the suffering and protection of the vulnerable, between individual choice and social responsibility, we can set an example for the world. A Good Death is timely, engaging and inspiring. In taking on our ultimate human right, award-winning journalist Sandra Martin charts the history of the right-to-die movement here and abroad through the personal stories of brave campaigners like Sue Rodriguez, Brittany Maynard and Gloria Taylor. Martin weighs the evidence from permissive jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Oregon, California, Switzerland and Quebec and portrays her own intellectual and emotional journey through the tangled legal, medical, religious and political documentation concerning terminal sedation, slippery slopes and the sanctity of life. Modern death has become a wrenching political dilemma, one that becomes more pressing as the population ages. A Good Death confronts our fears about dying, our struggle for meaning and our dread of being trapped by voracious medical technology in a nightmare world that has abandoned caring in pursuit of curing, no matter the cost or the suffering to patients and their families. A Good Death asks the tough question none of us can avoid: How do we want to die? The answer will change your life—and your death.
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