Ethics 39.2 (Summer 2011): 201-14. Web. 10 July 2011.
Robert H. Blank is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Blank is a respected professor and well known writer who has been published in several textbooks, magazines, and journals. Blank stresses the need for comparative research amongst the different countries because of the increased interest in end-of-life care and to help identify what does, and does not, work across countries. He discusses the importance of end-of-life care and examines the practices and beliefs of twelve different countries. Blank compares culture, religion, family, and other social structures, and what role they play in end-of-life decision making. End-of-life policies, how the terminally ill are treated by health care workers, and costs related to dying at home versus in a hospital or nursing home within each country are also discussed. He also explains the nine different categories of euthanasia and discusses options including withholding treatment, withdrawing care, assisting death, and palliative, or hospice, care.
This article is well written and easy to follow. It is well organized, incorporates several subtopics and headings, which makes navigating to and from different topics very smooth. The material presented is easy to understand for those with medical or legal knowledge (the intended audience for this publication). Information contained in Blank’s article is not biased and provides pros and cons for each argument discussed. He discusses several country’s views, (or lack of), and the need for these countries to visit this topic and form laws. Blank includes facts from several published studies that have been conducted on this subject; his information is based on fact and not opinion. There are five tables included, four of which contain a great amount of useful information that can be viewed quickly. This article is up to date, having been published this summer. This is helpful in that all the laws and statistics mentioned are true and have not changed yet.
In contrast, Blank’s article would not be easily understood or interpreted by someone lacking medical or legal knowledge. There are several unknown abbreviations used that are not explained, so the reader may not know what he is referencing. In this case, a layman, or someone unfamiliar with the healthcare field, may not fully understand the…