Dr. Ron Grey faces a dilemma. His good friend Patrick has been diagnosed with a fatal degenerative disease. When Patrick asks Ron to help him die peacefully and painlessly, Ron searches his mind, soul and spirit for answers. Ron starts his journey by attending Illinois Senate hearings where opponents and proponents debate the possible legalization of physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Ron soon learns that he is mired within the legal and political aspects of PAS as well as having to contend with the medical and ethical repercussions. While recounting this narrative, author Chamberlain takes readers on a thought-provoking, emotional journey through the many facets of PAS, presenting the basic arguments for and against this unorthodox medical proposal. As Ron discovers, persuasive reasons are found in both camps. "If PAS is illegal", the proponents ask, "aren't we treating animals more 'humanely' than we treat humans?" They also argue that "botched suicide attempts" will occur if legalization doesn't pass. Opponents contend that "PAS invites other, tragic, practices", placing physicians on a slippery ethical slope. "Legalizing PAS results in the devaluing of disabled and ill people", they claim, adding that legalization may also result in "misdiagnoses leading to suicide requests by people who are not terminally ill". Chamberlain addresses difficult, disturbing questions with an objectivity tempered by compassion.
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