Dignitas: Background information when reading Me Before You

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Me Before You

A Novel

by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2012, 384 pages
    Jul 2013, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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At the center of Me Before You is an intensely emotional and ethical debate about assisted suicide; and in particular, of the assisted-death organization, Dignitas, which plays a primary role in the story. Dignitas, founded near Zurich, Switzerland in 1998, has as its motto "to live with dignity – to die with dignity." The organization's assisted suicide programs are very carefully regulated and require that prospective patients undergo a series of psychological and medical assessments. Patients must also certify that they are making the decision to die of their own free will; Swiss law mandates that assisted suicide be done without coercion or self-interest on the part of the person or organization assisting with the process. Suicide is accomplished humanely through ingestion of a powerful overdose of pentobarbital, which first numbs pain, then induces a coma, and finally results in respiratory arrest and death. It's estimated that more than a thousand people have been assisted ...

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