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No Good Deed    by Lewis M. Cohen order for
No Good Deed
by Lewis M. Cohen
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

'Now that medicine is capable of near-miracles in keeping us alive, we enter the quagmire of who decides when enough treatment is enough, how life is stopped, and what constitutes care versus murder. This superb page-turner is a front-row seat to the life-or-death drama unfolding for doctors, nurses and families nationwide. It is a must-read by a brilliant doctor who straddles the front lines.'

The above paragraph was written by Marilyn Webb, author of The Good Death: The New American Search on the End of Life. The book in question is No Good Deed: A Story of Medicine, Murder Accusations, and the Debate over How We Die by Dr. Lewis M. Cohen, Physician and Researcher and now Author. As Webb states, it is a must read. We all will face that end-of-life. How it is managed unless we are lucky enough to just stop breathing should concern us all. It does me.

Dr. Cohen begins his research into this so important issue with the story of three nurses. One accused the other two of hastening the death of one of their patients. The question here was whether the two nurses were simply carrying out the patient's wishes or committing murder. There seems to be a fine line between what can be called euthanasia and murder.

The United States, of course, is not the only nation dealing with this. Some have set guidelines to follow when a patient decides they no longer choose to exist living in pain or suffering a debilitating illness from which they know they can never recover. Now the medical family must carry out those wishes. Who decides when the exact moment has arrived to terminate someone's existence?

Dr. Cohen interviewed many for their take on this troubling problem - patients, the medical community and the families of those in need of care. He received answers from both sides of the issue. And he leaves it up to readers to make their own decisions.

Dr. Cohen writes in a manner that makes it clear that he is troubled by this quagmire and actively seeks answers. He has compassion for those who are ill and for their families. And also for those accused of murder who spend years incarcerated. Were their actions truly murder or were the patient's wishes simply but kindly being carried out?

No Good Deed is a book that should be read and recommended to others. We shall all tread down that final road. Make sure your own wishes will be carried out.

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