2017 Finalist

Sandra Martin

A Good Death: Making the Most of Our Final Choices

A Good Death: Making the Most of Our Final Choicesby Sandra Martin

We canít avoid death, but the prospect has been a lot less terrifying since the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physician-assisted death. Competent adults suffering grievously from intolerable medical conditions will have the right to ask for a doctorís help in ending their lives. That much is clear.

The challenge now is to pass legislation that reflects this landmark decision and develop regulations that reconcile the Charter rights of both doctors and patients. If we get the balance right between compassion for the suffering and protection of the vulnerable, between individual choice and social responsibility, we can set an example for the world.

A Good Death is timely, engaging, and inspiring. In taking on our ultimate human right, award- winning journalist Sandra Martin charts the history of the right-to-die movement here and abroad through the personal stories of brave campaigners like Sue Rodriguez, Brittany Maynard, and Gloria Taylor. Martin weighs the evidence from permissive jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Oregon, California, Switzerland, and Quebec, and she portrays her own intellectual and emotional journey through the tangled legal, medical, religious, and political documentation concerning terminal sedation, slippery slopes, and the sanctity of life.

Modern death has become a wrenching political dilemma, one that becomes more pressing as the population ages. A Good Death confronts our fears about dying, our struggle for meaning, and our dread of being trapped by voracious medical technology in a nightmare world that has abandoned caring in pursuit of curing, no matter the cost to - or suffering of - patients and their families.

A Good Death asks the tough question none of us can avoid: How do we want to die? e answer will change your life - and your death.

Sandra Martin, an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, writes the Long Goodbye column for The Globe and Mail. Her previous books include Working the Dead Beat: 50 Lives That Changed Canada, The First Man in My Life: Daughters Write about Their Fathers, and Card Tricks: Bankers, Boomers and the Explosion of Plastic Credit.

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