In Assisted Suicide and the Right to Die: The Interface of Social Science, Public Policy, and Medical Ethics, Barry Rosenfeld examines how social science can inform policy and practice issues in the ongoing debates on end-of-life issues. While some important elements of the arguments for advocacy or opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide, such as moral and ethical concerns, are not necessarily the domain of science, others are amenable to scientific study, including such questions as whether untreated pain or depression fuel requests for assisted suicide. This thoughtful, comprehensive, and balanced volume reviews and synthesizes what research has uncovered thus far, and provides rich context on the major legal, ethical, clinical, social policy, and psychological research issues involved in end-of-life decision-making. Topics include assessment of patient decision-making abilities, do-not-resuscitate orders, and advance directives. Chapters on experience with legalized assisted suicide in Oregon and the Netherlands supplement those devoted to reviewing the psychosocial and medical literature on who seeks assisted suicide and why.
This book will be an invaluable resource for health psychology researchers interested in end-of-life policy research as well as for clinicians who treat terminally ill patients and struggle to understand the factors influencing their decisions.