How to Die:
Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions

by James Leonard Park

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These contents are fully interactive:
Whenever a reference is made to another part of the book,
a hyperlink is provided.

Introduction: Suicide Prevention and the Right-to-Die

                           WORRIES, PROBLEMS, ABUSES & MISTAKES

Chapter 1  Protecting Patients from Greedy Relatives

Chapter 2  Protecting Patients from Family Pressure to Die

Chapter 3  Protecting Patients from Health-Care Administrators Who Must Save Money

Chapter 4  Protecting Vulnerable Patients from Discrimination

Chapter 5  Certain Lives Are Worthless

Chapter 6  Protecting Patients from Being Put to Death Without Authorization

Chapter 7  Safeguards as Sand on the Slippery Slope

Chapter 8  Preventing Mercy-Killing   

Chapter 9  Suicide Is a Sin and other Religious Objections

Chapter 10  God Will Decide When Life Will End: We Should Not 'Play God'

Chapter 11  Controlling Free-Lance 'Angels of Death'

Chapter 12  Preserving Good Doctor-Patient Relations: Will My Doctor Decide to Kill Me?

Chapter 13  Will My Doctor Prescribe an Overdose of Drugs?

Chapter 14  Discouraging Teen-agers from Killing Themselves


Chapter 15  Would We Ask our Doctors to Help us "Commit Suicide"?

Chapter 16  Could "Gentle Death" Replace "Euthanasia"?

Chapter 17  Could "Timely Death" Replace "Hastened Death"?

Chapter 18  Are You Handing me "Medication" or "Gentle Poison"?

Chapter 19  Will this Death be an "Irrational Suicide" or a "Voluntary Death"?

Chapter 20  Will this Death be a "Mercy-Killing" or a "Merciful Death"?


Chapter 21  Nine Characteristics of Good Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions

Chapter 22  Open Safeguards Kept Private:
                       End-of-Life Medical Decisions Should Never Become Public Information

Chapter 23  Keeping Government Officials, the Media, & other Strangers Out of the Loop

Chapter 24  Family Use of Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions

SAFEGUARD A  Advance Directive for Medical Care

SAFEGUARD B  Requests for Death from the Patient

SAFEGUARD C  Psychological Consultant Evaluates the Patient's Ability to Make Medical Decisions

SAFEGUARD D  Physician's Statement of Condition and Prognosis

SAFEGUARD E  Independent Physician Reviews the Condition and Prognosis

SAFEGUARD F  Certification of Terminal Illness or Incurable Condition

SAFEGUARD G  Unbearable Suffering

SAFEGUARD H  Unbearable Psychological Suffering

SAFEGUARD  I   Palliative Care Trial

SAFEGUARD J  Informed Consent from the Patient

SAFEGUARD K  Requests for Death from the Proxies

SAFEGUARD L  Enrollment in a Hospital or Hospice

SAFEGUARD M  Statements from Hospital or Hospice Staff Members

SAFEGUARD N  Statements from Family Members Affirming or Questioning Choosing Death 

SAFEGUARD O  A Member of the Clergy Approves or Questions Choosing Death 

SAFEGUARD P  Religious or other Moral Principles Applied to this Life-Ending Decision

SAFEGUARD Q  An Institutional Ethics Committee Reviews the Plans for Death

SAFEGUARD R  Statements from Advocates for Disadvantaged Groups
                                If Invited by the Patient and/or the Proxies

SAFEGUARD S  Review by the Prosecutor (or other Lawyer) Before the Death Takes Place

SAFEGUARD T  Civil and Criminal Penalties for Causing Premature Death

SAFEGUARD U  Waiting Periods For Reflection

SAFEGUARD V  Opportunities for the Patient to Rescind or Postpone the Life-Ending Decision
SAFEGUARD W  Physicians Review the Complete Death-Planning Records

SAFEGUARD X  Complete Recording and Sharing of All Material Facts and Opinions

SAFEGUARD Y  The Patient Must Be Conscious and Able to Achieve Death

SAFEGUARD Z  The Death-Planning Coordinator Organizes the Safeguards

SAFEGUARD AA   Information about Palliative Care and other Alternatives to Death

SAFEGUARD BB   Notify Family of Life-Ending Decision

SAFEGUARD CC   Family Members Discuss the Level of Personhood in the Patient

SAFEGUARD DD  The Patient Must be an Adult Resident of the State

SAFEGUARD EE  Physician Agrees to Provide Life-Ending Chemicals

SAFEGUARD FF  Specifically-Licensed Terminal-Care Physician
                                  Agrees to Provide Life-Ending Chemicals

SAFEGUARD GG  Judicial Consent

Chapter 25 
The Number of People Reviewing a Life-Ending Decision
                       Using the 26 Recommended Safeguards

Chapter 26  Safeguards Embraced by Critics of the Right-to-Die

Chapter 27  Safeguards Embraced by the Right-to-Die Movement


Chapter 28   Advance Directives for Medical Care:
                        24 Important Questions to Answer

Chapter 29  One Million Chosen Deaths per Year?

Chapter 30 
The One-Month-Less Club:
                       Live Well Now, Omit the Last Month
Chapter 31  Choosing Your Date of Death:
                       How to Achieve a Timely Death
Not Too Soon, Not Too Late

Chapter 32 
Four Medical Methods of Managing Dying

Chapter 33 
Choosing Your Own Pathway Towards Death

Chapter 34 
Taking Death in Stride: Practical Planning

Chapter 35 
Completed Life or Premature Death?

Chapter 36 
Do I Lose the Right-to-Die when I Lose Consciousness?

Chapter 37 
                       Why Giving Up Water is Better than other Means of Voluntary Death

Chapter 38 
Voluntary Death by Dehydration:
                       Safeguards to Make Sure it is a Wise Choice

Chapter 39  Increasing Pain-Medication:
                       Easing the Passage into Death

Chapter 40  Terminal Sedation:
                       Dying in Your Sleep---Guaranteed

Chapter 41  Gentle Poison:
                      The Demand for Quick Death

Chapter 42  Do We Already Have the Right-to-Die?
                       Medical Methods of Managing Dying

Chapter 43  Problems with Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders (DNR)

Chapter 44  Problems with Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

Chapter 45  End-of-Life Medical Orders (ELMO)


Chapter 46  Seeking Better Cooperation between the Hospice Movement and the Right-to-Die Movement

Chapter 47  Methods of Managing Dying in a Right-to-Die Hospice

Chapter 48  Safeguards for Making Life-Ending Decisions in a Right-to-Die Hospice

Chapter 49  Good Death Hospice: Creating the First Right-to-Die Hospice

Chapter 50
  Pulling the Plug: A Paradigm for Life-Ending Decisions

Chapter 51 
Losing the Marks of Personhood:
                       Discussing Degrees of Mental Decline

Chapter 52 
Life-Ending Decisions for Alzheimer's Patients

Chapter 53  Safeguards for Making Life-Ending Decisions for Children


Chapter 54 
Two Approaches to Right-to-Die Laws:
                       Granting Permission or Banning Harms

Chapter 55 
Interpreting Laws Against 'Assisting Suicide'

Chapter 56  Prosecutors Can Announce their Guidelines

Chapter 57 
A New Way to Secure the Right-to-Die:
                       Laws Against Causing Premature Death

Chapter 58 
Causing Premature Death:
                       Draft of Legislation to Replace Laws Against 'Assisting Suicide'

Chapter 59  Advantages of the Premature-Death Approach to the Right-to-Die

Applies to All Life-Ending Decisions,
      Not Just those Cases that Choose to be Covered by the Law.

B.  Creates Common Ground with Former Opponents of the Right-to-Die

C.  Makes Each Particular Safeguard Optional

D.  Encourages Advocates of the Right-to-Die to Embrace the Safeguards

E.  Requires Less Paperwork

F.  Brings Underground Chosen Deaths Above Ground

G.  Discourages Self-Appointed 'Angels of Death'

H.  Clarifies and Simplifies the Legal Status of Bedside Medical Decisions 

Puts the Burden-of-Proof on the Prosecution: Presumed Innocent

Prevents Attempts to Ban the Right-to-Die Using Drug-Laws

K.  Prevents Attempts to Ban the Right-to-Die Using Physician Licensing

L.   Focuses on Results rather than Procedural Details


Preparing for Death

Advance Directives for Medical Care


Helping Patients to Die

Supporting the Right-to-Die

Opposing the Right-to-Die

Medical Methods of Managing Dying

Life-Ending Decisions

Progress toward Creating the Printed Book

    As of August 2014, the basic pages have been set for
How to Die: Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions.
Eight additional chapters were added since then:
Terminal Sedation, Decisions for Children,
& Increasing Pain-Medication, MMMD,
DNR, POLST, ELMO, & Gentle Poison.
What additional chapters would be helpful?
The bibliographies will remain open for reviews of additional books on those subjects.
This will make about 600 pages in the printed book.
As of the end of 2017, there were about 700 readers in the book-club, linked below.
These first-readers will review the 59 chapters above
before the book is published on paper.
Even after the printed and bound book is available,
all of the contents will remain available free of charge on the Internet as above.

Related Additional Bibliographies

The following reviews of books are not included
in the printed version of How to Die,
but on-line readers might be interested in these particular themes:

Best Books on Terminal Care (from the Doctor's Point of View)

Terminal Medical Care from the Consumer's Point of View

Books on Hospice Care

Definitions of Death

Books on Voluntary Death

First Books on Voluntary Death by Dehydration

Invitation to join a Facebook Seminar discussing this book


See the complete description for this first-readers book-club:

Join our Facebook Group called:
Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions:

Additional Resources on the Internet

Underground Aid-in-Dying Resists Review by the Prosecutor
This discussion explores the reasons why early advocates of the right-to-die
especially those following the suicide-model for the right-to-die
would never consider having their plans reviewed by the prosecutor.

26 Safeguards Suggesting No Prosecution for Murder, Manslaughter, or Assisted Suicide
This presentation discusses the 26 recommended safeguards,
showing how following these guidelines should prevent prosecution for any crime.

Fifteen Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions
This presentation selects the 15 most important safeguards.

Voluntary Death by Dehydration: Questions and Answers
This Internet portal gathers information about the practical dimensions
of deciding to end one's life by voluntary dehydration.

Created December 30, 2011; Revised 1-7-2012; 1-10-2012; 1-11-2012; 1-18-2012; 1-19-2012; 1-27-2012;
2-9-2012; 2-21-2012; 2-28-2012;  3-4-2012; 3-8-2012; 3-9-2012; 3-10-2012; 3-15-2012;
5-29-2012; 8-17-2012; 9-7-2012;
1-2-2013; 1-3-2013; 1-26-2013; 4-10-2013; 6-14-2013; 6-24-2013; 7-8-2013; 9-11-2013; 10-12-2013;
4-22-2014; 8-2-2014; 10-8-2014;
2-19-2015; 3-27-2015; 5-1-2015; 5-15-2015; 7-9-2015; 10-2-2015;
3-19-2016; 3-24-2016; 12-21-2016; 12-14-2017; 8-10-2018;

Several other Internet Books by James Park
are available for reading free of change on the Internet.

Go to the beginning of this website
James Leonard Park—Free Library