Chosen Death: The Dying Confront Assisted Suicide

Lonny Shavelson, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-684-80100-1
Shavelson, an emergency-room physician and photojournalist in Berkeley, Calif., advocates physician-assisted suicide as an option for people who want to end the agony of a prolonged illness-but only after all other options, including hospice care, have been explored. He describes how he helped a friend commit suicide to shorten her struggle with terminal brain cancer. He also tells of his involvement in other cases of euthanasia, either as passive observer or as adviser to people who chose to end their lives and to their troubled families. These include a gay circus trapeze perfomer afflicted with AIDS; a quadriplegic frustrated in his quest for romantic love; and mystery writer Mary Bowen Hall, a victim of metastatic breast cancer. Shavelson's graphic photographs of his subjects at various stages of their ordeals add an unusually immediate dimension to this sensitive, helpful guide. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 245 pages - 978-0-520-21292-3
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