Frances Norwood’s book ‘The Maintenance of Life: Preventing Social Death through Euthanasia Talk and End- of-Life Care – Lessons from the Netherlands’ provides an in-depth look into end-of-life care in the Netherlands and how legal euthanasia has helped to shape this landscape.
The book draws on 15 months of qualitative data including direct observation and in-depth interviews with general practitioners, end-of-life patients and their family members.
Norwood argues that conversations concerning euthanasia rarely culminate in a euthanasia death. Furthermore, these discussions open up a more general discussion about end-of-life between patients, their families and healthcare professionals. They can provide a space for patients to talk about their suffering, reaffirming social bonds and self-identity, helping to prevent “social death.”
Norwood examines how the euthanasia policy in the Netherlands has shaped the experience of patients at the end-of-life and how this compares with the situation in the United States.
Reviewer – Erin VW Andrew