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Death Stud. 2007 Feb;31(2):105-30.

Family member involvement in hastened death.

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Department of Medical History and Ethics, University of Washington, Box 357120, Seattle, WA 98195-7240, USA.


When patients pursue a hastened death, how is the labor of family care-giving affected? The authors examined this question in a qualitative study of 35 families. Four cases reveal the main themes: "taking care" included mutual protection between patients and family members; "midwifing the death" without professional support left families unprepared for adverse events; "tying up loose ends" included dealing with family members' fear of legal consequences; and "moving ahead" involved a greater risk of complicated grief when families encountered complications during the dying process. These results highlight the positive and negative consequences of family members' participation in a hastened death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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