THE GODS OF LIFE by Neil Elliott


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A quick, superficial glance at the ethical problems of age, death and -- peripherally -- transplants and ""cryonics"" (low-temperature immortality). Elliott opens with an overview of the medical difficulties in interpreting aging: can it be called a disease? He illustrates the myriad practices in other cultures of dealing with the elderly. Reviewing the horror stories of nursing homes and hospitals, he assails current Medicare administration and physicians' ""chicanery."" How do we diminish the pain of the dying? Elliott explores the issue of euthanasia; he is sympathetic to it, but wary of doctors' fallibility. He becomes upset, however, at those who will actively sustain ""life"" functions in a body without consciousness -- perhaps we will have to change our definition of death to reflect brain functions. These are significant matters and need a more thorough examination.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Macmillan