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Book and Media Reviews
September 22/29, 2010

No Good Deed: A Story of Medicine, Murder Accusations, and the Debate Over How We Die

JAMA. 2010;304(12):1389-1390. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1384

Based on the title, one might assume that No Good Deed: A Story of Medicine, Murder Accusations, and the Debate Over How We Die is an account of physician-assisted suicide or a rehash of the Jack Kevorkian saga. It is neither. Rather, it is a finely nuanced examination of the controversies surrounding palliative and end-of-life care. Lewis Cohen, a psychiatrist and palliative care specialist, does not ignore the subject of physician-assisted suicide, explaining that “the focal point of this book is accusations over clinical procedures and decisions considered by most authorities and medical organizations to be both legal and ethical.” He explores the ultimate goals of medical care—alleviating symptoms and prolonging life—and the issues that arise when these goals become mutually exclusive.

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