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Suicide and Attempted Suicide: Methods and Consequences [Hardcover]

Geo Stone
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1998
Each year in the United States 30,000 people kill themselves. Each year, too, almost half a million survive suicide attempts. Of these, 19,000 are permanently disabled. Only about one in fifteen attempts is actually fatal. Most who attempt suicide do not want to die.Yet many people who do not intend to kill themselves nevertheless do. They are ignorant of the likelihood that their "gesture" will succeed. Some expect rescuers to save them. Few understand how dangerous their chosen method is, or the consequences of its failure.The purposes of this book are to decrease the ignorance that leads to terrible unintended consequences; to help identify the would-be suicides, such as teenagers, who can be successfully helped; and to better understand why people attempt to end their lives.In the absence of knowledge about suicide methods -- and, importantly, about alternatives to suicide -- people act in desperation and ignorance. The methods people use, all too often, leave them neither dead nor able to recover, but maimed and Permanently injured. That is the reality.Geo Stone also discusses the following subjects: - The psychological makeup of suicidal people- The ways to prevent suicide- The comfort care and hospice care available for those who disable themselves- Medical systems available for the terminally ill- The issues surrounding assisted suicide

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc (31 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786704926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786704927
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,291,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most thorough book on the subject. . . 7 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is the definitive book on the subject, exhaustively researched, and yet quite readable...
As I read this book, I was struck that this is not so much about suicide, as about self-determination (something the Kirkus reviewer apparently missed). I began reading this out of a sense of professional obligation, but quickly found the book surprisingly interesting. There is a wealth of detail presented, with the solid and sobering information relieved by the often wickedly amusing (albeit occasionally warped) footnotes.
While the "how to" sections are quite graphic, the reader can readily find areas of interest through the clear chapter subheadings, and thereby skip those that might be either too gory or too technical. But the detail presented is here out of necessity-for how else can the individual make an informed decision?
This book clearly does not advocate suicide. It provides individuals with the information to make a better decision about their future. For example, if someone wishes to make a gesture, it gives them guidance about appropriate choices that will not leave them off in an even worse state.
As a physician, I was a bit put off by the author's criticism of docs. I think he underestimates the chilling effect the threat of professional criticism and repercussions has. Of course, there is also the effect fear of more serious legal action (eg charges of murder) has on the willingness of physicians to be more active in this area. This extends to efforts in the area of pain relief (such as by providing adequate doses of morphine) which are often inappropriately criticized as excessive. Also, as he notes, docs have been very poorly educated regarding pain control.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is an odd, idiosyncratic, fascinating, uneven, irritating, and important book: there's nothing out there like it. "Suicide and Attempted Suicide" is primarily a study of suicide methods---how people try to kill themselves (or, more often, try to get attention or help). It reads as if it were written by more than one author, or over an extended period of time: the tone bounces unpredictably from didactic to ironic to funny (be sure to read the chapter endnotes!).
The first half of the book touches on a wide range of suicide topics: history of suicide, the legal situation, treatment options, terminal illness, philosophical issues, euthanasia and assisted suicide. The information is interesting and well enough presented, but tries to cover too much ground in too few pages. A reader unfamiliar with this material will find it a reasonable, though patchy, introduction that can be followed up from the author's well-chosen "suggested reading" list.
The heart of the book is the second half, where it discusses suicide methods and their consequences in clinical detail. This treatment will surely be controversial, since the author provides "how to" (and "how not to") information that can be used either to commit suicide or to carry out a suicidal gesture.
I've seen only one other book that takes a similar approach, Derek Humphry's "Final Exit" to which this book will inevitably be compared. "Suicide and Attempted Suicide" is the far more comprehensive and detailed work, which is both its strength and its weakness. There is no better---in fact no other---book that discusses the variety of suicide methods in any significant depth.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most in-depth book on the subject 30 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book contains some of the most insightful interpretation of statistical data and superlative research in forensic pathology.
There are two sections in this book. The first section analyzes the social, psychological and biological aspect of suicide in history and at present time, in the US and all around the world. There are some powerful conclusions, such as gun ownership does not necessarily contribute to higher suicide rate, that are counter-intuitive but extremely convincing.
The second part of the book deals with various suicide methods. The tone in this section is notably different from the first part, as if it is another book by another author. Numerous forensic works are quoted here. However, there are some assertions that seem to me novel and dubious, like the author states, without reference, that the carotid artery is on the right side of the neck and the vein is on the left.
While the content of the book is superior, the format is less impressive. The references of each chapter are bundled together at the end of the book; and there's no indication on each page which chapter you are in. This makes it very hard to go from a sentence to its reference. I believe the publisher should be more considerate about the format of this book.
Nontheless, this is a top-notch, definitive work on the subject, infinitely better than Mr. Derek Humphry's.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear, no-nonsense approach to suicide. 11 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book needed to be written. There is no better source of information about suicide methods. If you want to know how it's done, what works, and what's likely to leave you a vegetable, this is the place to look.
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