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Books, Journals, New Media
December 8, 1999

SuicideSuicide and Attempted Suicide: Methods and Consequences

Author Affiliations
 

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media

 

Not Available

 

by Geo Stone, 480 pp, $27.95, ISBN 0-7867-0492-6, New York, NY, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1999.

JAMA. 1999;282(22):2181-2182. doi:10.1001/jama.282.22.2181-JBK1208-5-1

At least Geo Stone tells it to you plainly in the introduction to his text. If you are terminally ill, he wants to give you information that will help you determine the best way to kill yourself—no mincing of words here. He emphasizes self-determination, what I prefer to call autonomy. Unhesitatingly, he makes it clear that each competent individual has the right to figure out how and when to die. He has no solace to offer should you disagree with his political stance.

The second principle that undergirds his theory is based on mercy, from which flows his notion that nobody should be expected to suffer unnecessarily. But you shouldn't conclude that he's encouraging you to kill yourself—not so. That would be like arguing that those who promote sex education want you to have sex. Stone argues similarly that he's on the side of education. Too many try suicide in desperation and ignorance, with disastrous consequences—left maimed and permanently injured, but still alive. So Stone wants to "help you determine the best way to kill yourself—if that's your well-considered decision."

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