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By Leslie Ivan with Maureen Melrose


232 pp., Grosetto, Italy: Pari Publishing, 2007, $16.95, paperback.


Brief: Rapid advances in healthcare have revolutionized how we think about death and dying, and stir up moral, ethical, and legal questions that must be faced by physicians, nurses, palliative care healthcare providers, clergy, and relatives of the dying. Ivan, a neurosurgeon, and Melrose, a nurse, discuss the history of the definition of death and explain the meaning of coma, persistent vegetative state, brain death, and the "locked in state." They explore legal and ethical issues surrounding "Do not resuscitate" orders, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and a "living will." The book concludes by reflecting on near-death experiences; the possibility of life after death; and approaches to body, mind, and soul from the perspectives science and religion.