Last Rights: Death Control and the Elderly in America

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Several recent trends - demographic, social, and economic - are increasing the incidence and public support of deliberate death among the old and sick. Barbara Logue examines this trend and its ethical implications, describing hazards inherent in our present long-term care system, noting that all too often the system causes suffering instead of alleviating it. After assessing the alternatives, she urges that we must make compassionate death control as available as birth control. We must regulate and monitor it like any other medical procedure, taking steps to minimize the risks while maximizing the benefits.