As society changes, its citizens must examine their own beliefs, morals, and values. Physician-assisted suicide is now legal in a few states. Usually one thinks about the suffering of the terminally ill when considering physician-assisted suicide. But what about the values and feelings of doctors being asked to assist? Or the nurses, or caregivers in the facilities housing the patient, or the next door neighbor? Where do their values and thoughts enter in? In The Dignified Death of Joseph Sherman, Robert Lawrence explores this controversial issue from a variety of viewpoints, never giving the "right" answer, but presenting all sides, leading the reader to more thoroughly examine his/her own opinion.
The Dignified Death of Joseph Sherman is set in a prison where Mr. Sherman is a convicted murderer. Having a terminal illness, Mr. Sherman demands physician-assisted suicide in accordance with the laws of his state. Presenting this issue from the viewpoints of the prisoner, the prison doctor who will prescribe the lethal dosage, the nurse who cares for Mr. Sherman, the warden who is responsible for the safety of all prisoners, the chaplain, and the victims' families, Dr. Lawrence weaves a mesmerizing story with compelling characters. They each have their own thoughts about the procedure and their role in it, whether forced or voluntary. Although the setting is a prison, this issue has far-reaching ramifications in today's society. This story and how physician-assisted suicide affects members of society will remain in one's thoughts long after the book is closed.
Virginia Degnan, Ed.D.