Death comes for us all, and the desire to ease into that death is as ancient as humankind. The idea that sometimes it is better to die quickly and in control of that death—rather than linger in pain and misery once impending death is certain—has troubled yet comforted humankind. In Doctor, Please Help Me Die, author Tom Preston, MD, presents a thorough overview and discussion of end-of-life issues and physician-assisted death in America.
Doctor, Please Help Me Die traces the history of patients seeking relief from suffering at the end of life and discusses how cultural and professional customs have inhibited many doctors from helping their patients at the end. Preston shows how most doctors fail their patients by not discussing dying with them and by refusing to consider legal physician aid in dying—ultimately deceiving the public in their refusal to help patients die. He discusses the religious, political, and legal battles in this part of the culture war and gives advice to patients on how to gain peaceful dying.
Preston presents a strong argument for why every citizen who is dying ought to be extended an inalienable right to die peacefully, and why every physician has an ethical obligation to assist patients who want to exercise this right safely, securely, and painlessly.
Tom Preston, MD, is a retired cardiologist who has worked to make physician aid in dying legal. He has published four prior books about physicians’ practices. He and his wife, Molly, have two daughters and live in Seattle, Washington.
Janice Harper, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and lives in Seattle, Washington.