Only Love Remains

9781905570775

Only Love Remains – Lessons from the Dying on the Meaning of Life
By Attilio Stajano
Clairview Books – £14.99

Palliative care is the new face of medicine; it incorporates scientific and technological progress while acknowledging interpersonal relationships and the integrity of the person in his or her various dimensions; physiological, mental, emotional and spiritual. It is a new form of medical care that goes beyond the concept of the hospital business model, in which machines are run to correspond to a balance sheet, and where quality is synonymous with productivity rather than humanity.

Hmm, ”where quality is synonymous with productivity rather than humanity;” an honest account of Britain’s current health system, not to mention an unfortunate symptom of the times (which have most certainly been a changin’).

Were one to ask the vile likes of UKIP’s Nigel Farrage, he’d undoubtedly blame the situation on immigration (like he does everything else, including that of his own preposterous personality). While that other wretch of his smugness personified, George Osborne (currently earning a gazillion pounds a week for merely showing up once a week), would invariably blame it on the country’s severe lack of checks and balances – of which he so clearly knows so much about.

That said, Only Love Remains sounds like the song title of a David Gray song, whilst the book’s subject matter isn’t exactly a hundred miles removed either. Reason being, just like a lot of the Stoke singer-songwriter’s actual work, a great deal of what’s written herein is indeed gentle, reflective and approached with a great deal of conviction.

In fact, Only Love Remains – Lessons from the Dying on the Meaning of Life: Euthanasia or Palliative Care?, is, like the secondary title suggests, a most compelling narrative that fundamentally traverses the threshold of choice: ”If we see the terminally-ill as an inconvenience […], we forego the possibility of finding unexpected resources in ourselves: a tenderness, a touch, a readiness to assist that we did not know we were capable of.

Underlying this book is the momentous and very current debate over euthanasia. In a comprehensive appendix, the author reports on the provision of palliative care services and the laws governing euthanasia in European and English-speaking countries around the world, and the varying implications these have for the way we value and care for the dying.”

Concise and clearly written, these 193 pages are something of a sombre, although enlightening read on a subject we will all – sooner or later – need to confront.

David Marx

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