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Book and Media Reviews
July 20, 2011

Is God Still at the Bedside? The Medical, Ethical, and Pastoral Issues of Death and Dying

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Ecumenical Institute, Baltimore, Maryland (

JAMA. 2011;306(3):319. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1005

Abigail Evans' most recent book explores the many issues surrounding death and dying in contemporary society. The book is divided into 4 sections: (1) the prologue, in which the author explores what it means to be human and the various ways that society views death; (2) “Negotiated Death,” in which she discusses end-of-life choices, physician-assisted suicide, organ donation, and legal issues surrounding the end of life; (3) “The Experience of Dying,” in which she provides information on the difference between pain and suffering as well as the hospice approach to living and dying and to grief and bereavement; and (4) “God at the Bedside,” in which she notes the role of clergy, faith community nurses, and liturgical practices in dying, death, and funeral practices. For each of these sections, Evans does not rely on her own ideas but provides the reader with multiple viewpoints, some at great variance with each other, to provide as accurate a landscape as possible for the topic under discussion.

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