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Edited by Fiona Randall, R S Downie. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, £29.95 (paperback), pp 256. ISBN 0198567367
Relief from suffering has been the primary aim of doctors for centuries, yet one of the consequences of the growth and spread of the powerful technologies that enable doctors to intervene in disease has been a greater uncertainty about the boundaries of dying. This is not only a professional dilemma. Anyone with access to television, newspapers and other media will have a dramatised mental picture of medical possibilities that can, and certainly do, result in unrealistic expectations of what can be reasonably achieved in the treatment of severe …