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Stopping for Death: Re-Framing Our Perspective on the End of Life
University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy (2009)
  • Ruth C. Stern
  • J. Herbie DiFonzo

How we die is increasingly becoming a matter of law and public policy. We grapple with issues of patient autonomy, the proper parameters of doctor-patient discussions on the end of life, the right to hasten death, and the right to control our own medical treatment. But it is physicians and patients, not judges and legislators, who are the principal actors in events at the end of life. Palliative medicine is just beginning to probe the multi-dimensional totality of suffering in dying and seriously ill patients. What we learn will influence our options at the end of life and tell us why different approaches benefit different individuals. Before we invite the lawyers and the policy makers to our bedsides, it is important that we understand the dying process, and how doctors and patients can more effectively collaborate in the pursuit of a better death.

Publication Date
Winter December, 2009
Citation Information
Ruth C. Stern and J. Herbie DiFonzo