Questions that face dying individuals, their families, and the professionals that help them at the end of their lives are explored in this volume. The contributors help the reader to come to terms with issues of mortality complicated by the diversity of cultures within society.

End-of-Life Issues: A Disabilities Perspective

End-of-life issues: A disabilities perspective

During an international polio epidemic in the early 1950s, the use of iron lungs encasing patients from foot to chin were employed to maintain the lives of those who otherwise certainly would have died of respiratory failure caused by bulbar poliomyelitis (Wackers, 1994). The salvation of thousands of persons, mostly children, through a cumbersome process of mechanical ventilation was seen as a major triumph in both medical circles and society at large. For years, Reader's Digest and other popular magazines detailed the triumphs of those who became bridge masters and honor students despite the restrictions of a clumsy encasement. It allowed them to live intellectually and socially active lives despite their physical restrictions.

During the 1990s, however, ...

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