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July 23, 1997

Seduced by Death: Doctors, Patients, and the Dutch Cure

Author Affiliations

Oregon Health Sciences University Portland

JAMA. 1997;278(4):340-341. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040096047

Dr Herbert Hendin, a psychoanalyst, suicidologist, and executive director of the American Suicide Foundation, is a passionate critic of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Seduced by Death presents his views on many aspects of the euthanasia debate developed from his experience as a therapist of suicidal patients, his investigation of euthanasia in the Netherlands, and his study of legal, ethical, and social issues pertaining to endof-life decision making.

The book has two major strengths. First, Hendin is an expert on the psychology of suicidal persons, and his insights into how suicidal persons view their world are woven throughout the text. He contends that terminal illness is not dissimilar to other life crises that provoke suicidality. With cases from his experience as a therapist, he explores the psyches of the suicidal: their ambivalence toward death, the inflexibility of their thinking and difficulties considering alternatives, and the influence of subtle pressures from others

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