Angels of Death: Exploring the Euthanasia Underground Info

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Reviews for Angels of Death: Exploring the Euthanasia Underground:

3

Jul 13, 2011

Not a bad academic exploration of the existing euthanasia underground networks in Australia. The book pretty much revealed that this practice is happening despite its illegality and highlights the desperate resorts of those who no longer wish to live. At times an informative and chilling read, Magnusson offers few answers to the debate; he only debunks myths and poorly structured arguments forwarded by parties with a veiled interest in euthanasia and leaves the reader to draw their own Not a bad academic exploration of the existing euthanasia underground networks in Australia. The book pretty much revealed that this practice is happening despite its illegality and highlights the desperate resorts of those who no longer wish to live. At times an informative and chilling read, Magnusson offers few answers to the debate; he only debunks myths and poorly structured arguments forwarded by parties with a veiled interest in euthanasia and leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions. Written in a very accessible manner for an academic text. ...more
4

Jan 16, 2012

A must read for anyone who wishes to know the background of 80s Australian euthanasia practice,this book debunked plenty of common myths that is likely to be held by many who engage in this discussion. If anything, I am amazed that this had been pushed under the carpet as much as is .

At times this book is heavy on the academic side, but it is very much accessible.
5

May 24, 2013

Underground Compassion

From soldiers put to sleep after sustaining horrific wounds on the battlefield to medical murder under the coroner's nose, Roger Magnusson's thorough investigation into the hidden world of assisted death and cold-blooded murder (two chapters are devoted to very troubling issues, including euthanasia administered when patients have expressed a desire to continue the fight).

The author himself changed his stance during the course of his work. Although he strongly supported the Underground Compassion

From soldiers put to sleep after sustaining horrific wounds on the battlefield to medical murder under the coroner's nose, Roger Magnusson's thorough investigation into the hidden world of assisted death and cold-blooded murder (two chapters are devoted to very troubling issues, including euthanasia administered when patients have expressed a desire to continue the fight).

The author himself changed his stance during the course of his work. Although he strongly supported the right to die early in his work, he soon realised that stringent safeguards were required (as most people who study this issue come to conclude). The first few chapters summarise the state of the worldwide debate. In this portion, his strongest arguments and conclusions come in pointing out the hypocrisy in letting people who are dependent on life support choose to die (as in the case of Mrs. B in the UK) and the absolute prohibition against any other forms of compassion at the end of life. Consent is not recognised in most of the "civilised" world. Despite the law though, almost no one is prosecuted. The double effect defense is almost impossible to disprove (and is inherently hypocritical; if an outcome is foreseen, it must also be intended). Jack Kevorkian was only convicted after years of openly flaunting the law. The case of Freeda Hayes in Western Australia confirmed the veracity of every poll since the 1980s with a jury returning a not guilty verdict in under fifteen minutes.

The most scathing critique of the anti-choice position? "...they dislike euthanasia because it would lead to free will."

The interviews and analyses reveal something many people have suspected all along - most anti-choicers have not seen people die in pain, beyond the reach of palliative care. Some deaths require brutally violent interventions (such as smothering) because the estimated lethal doses turned out to be inadequate. The prevalence of non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia (at least in Sydney and California, where the research was conducted) shows that the slippery slope argument is, in Roger's own words, a half-argument at best, because it neglects to address the level of abuse that is ALREADY HAPPENING.

Roger looks at several policy positions for the future. Legalisation would make sense from a perspective of harm reduction. Getting this practice out in the open (many anti-choicers and even doctors continue to pretend this never happens, despite evidence to the contrary) would provide peace of mind and reduce the incidence of euthanasia without consent. Continuing with the status quo would keep choice in the hands of the wealthy and fortunate (as Marshall Perron eloquently put it in his ROTI act). Prosecuting the offenders would be unlikely to succeed, and shatter the alliance between religious bodies and the medical profession. And, of course, one could always attack the credibility of the research while ignoring the mountains of evidence that illustrate the dangerous practices already occurring. But honesty was never high in anti-choice mission statements to begin with.

Further reading: Kuhse H , Singer P. Doctors’ practices and attitudes regarding voluntary euthanasia. Med J Aust1988;148:623–7.
Baume P, O’Malley E. Euthanasia: attitudes and practices of medical practitioners. Med J Aust1994;161:137, 140, 142–4
Kuhse H, Singer P, Baume P, et al.
End of life decisions in Australian medical practice. Med J Aust1997;166:191–6 ...more

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