Angels of Death - Magnusson, Roger S. - Yale University Press
Political Science
Social Science

Copublished with Melbourne University Press  

Angels of Death

Exploring the Euthanasia Underground

  • Roger S. Magnusson; With contributions from Peter H. Ballis
      REVIEWS             PREVIEW             CONTENTS             EXCERPTS      

This groundbreaking book uncovers the hidden world of illicit physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Through the frank and often troubling first-hand accounts of health professionals who have been involved in assisted death, the book records for the first time this secret but real area of medical and nursing practice. Through face-to-face interviews with these “angels of death,” Roger S. Magnusson explores the social practices, relationships, and networks that constitute “underground” euthanasia.

How is assisted death actually practiced within health care settings? What are the issues that surround the making of such a momentous decision? How do health care workers justify their attitudes and actions in this area? Angels of Death offers detailed answers to these questions and many others. The doctors, nurses, and therapists who were interviewed pseudonymously for this study work in the HIV/AIDS communities in the United States and Australia. Their perspectives and practices, their attitudes and feelings, illuminate the assisted death debate and expose a variety of disturbing issues, including the reality of “botched attempts,” euthanasia without consent, and unduly hasty measures to bring about death. The testimony of medical practitioners, combined with Magnusson’s thoughtful assessment of the issues, will be of intense interest to both opponents and advocates of proposals to legalize euthanasia.

Roger Magnusson is senior lecturer and coordinator, Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, The University of Sydney, Australia. Peter H. Ballis is professor and head of department of School of Humanities, Communications & Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia.