Death With Dignity, Why It Is Not Suicide

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“It is erroneous and very misleading to call aid-in-dying assisted suicide,” says Robert Orfali author of the recently-published book "Death with Dignity." Named “Best of 2011” by Kirkus Reviews, Orfali’s book provides an in-depth look at how we die in America today.

A lucid, powerful argument for letting dying patients go gentle into that good night.
— Kirkus Star Review

In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, “Terminally-ill individuals are not faced with the choice of whether to live, only how to die.” In his recently published book "Death with Dignity," author Robert Orfali elaborates on Stevens’ argument: “Clinical suicide implies having a choice between life and death and then choosing death. For a dying patient it’s the choice between a slow agonizing death and a quick and merciful one. Calling someone like my wife Jeri suicidal because she wanted the assisted dying option is insulting. Jeri battled her ovarian cancer non-stop for almost ten years. She really wanted to live. Unfortunately, she did not have that choice when the disease was killing her.” Under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act,” a patient’s death is not reported as suicide; it is caused by the underlying disease.  This view is shared by major medical associations. As Orfali explains, “Today, four out of five deaths in the U.S. involve some form of life-shortening measure. Physicians shorten life every day by withdrawing, withholding, or limiting treatment. When a physician pulls the plug on a dying patient it is neither called assisted suicide nor murder. It is part of the accepted medical practice of hastening death. It’s the same with aid-in-dying.”

Robert Orfali’s recent book "Death with Dignity: The Case for Legalizing Physician-Assisted Dying and Euthanasia" is an in-depth exploration of the shortcomings of our end-of-life system. The reader will learn about terminal torture in hospital ICUs and about the alternatives: hospice and palliative care. With laser-sharp focus, Orfali scrutinizes the good, the bad, and the ugly. He provides an insightful critique of the practice of palliative sedation. The book makes a strong case that assisted dying complements hospice. Oregon, by providing both, now has the best palliative-care system in America.  Oregon leads the nation in the number of deaths occurring at home, effective use of pain medication, early patient referrals to hospice care, and improved quality of end-of-life care.

“Orfali approaches this agonizing subject with common sense informed by extensive research and an acute sensitivity to the dilemmas faced by dying patients and their families and doctors. The result is a thought-provoking contribution to the debate over this explosive issue. A lucid, powerful argument for letting dying patients go gentle into that good night.”
— Kirkus Star Review "Best of 2011"

Robert Orfali, the guru of client/server systems in the early days of Silicon Valley, co-authored three best-selling books that demystified the complexity of these mission-critical systems and made them understandable to a whole new generation of programmers. The books sold over a million copies. In this book, Robert uses his analytical skills to deconstruct the most complex system he has yet encountered: our modern end-of-life system. He wrote this book after helping his soulmate and coauthor, Jeri, navigate her death from ovarian cancer in 2009. The deep emotions Robert felt allowed him to look at how we die from a different perspective, another angle. Robert also wrote "Grieving a Soulmate."

Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc. 
Publication date: April 15, 2011
ISBN-10: 1936780186
ISBN-13: 978-1936780181
Paperback list price: $14.95
E-book list price: only $ 0.99 “almost free.”

Book and e-book available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Store, and others.
E-book formats include Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Android, and others.
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