Title: A good death? Law and Ethics in Practice
Edited by: Lynn Hagger and Simon Woods
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited
Reviewer: Helen Reeves, clinical nurse manager, St Giles Walsall Hospice
What was it like?
A good death? Law and ethics in practice is a book that explores end of life care matters that range from the right to demand treatment or death, suicide centres: a reasonable requirement or a step too far? To the good death, palliative care and end of life ethics. The authors who contribute to each chapter are diverse and range from philosophers to social scientists and parents.
What were the highlights?
The ranges of topics covered within the book are diverse and open critical thinking and debate. What is clear from the book is that there is no single definition of what constitutes a good death but there are a range of things that should be considered when trying to achieve a good death. The final chapter the story of Isabel is a moving reflection by the parent of a child who died of Tay-Sachs at the age of four and half. It focuses on the journey they experienced, the healthcare professionals that they encountered and the difficult decisions and conversations that were had during their daughter’s short life.
Strengths & weaknesses:
It looks at hard hitting topics such as suicide centres: a reasonable requirement or a step too far. It opens up the ethical and legal debates regarding such difficult topics and shows the direct correlation between how law and ethics are interrelated. The book is set out in way that is easy to read and covers a vast range of topics allowing the reader to consider the many complexities that surround end of life care and the differences in opinion in what really constitutes a good death.
Who should read it?
This book would be good for a range of healthcare professionals and also academics with a keen interest in what constitutes a good death. It would be an excellent text book for student healthcare professionals wanting to get a better insight into the complexities that surround end of life care decisions.