Evan works as a nurse – one who assists terminally ill patients to die. His job is legal and it entails him to be present while the patient opts to drink their final drink containing Nembutal, a drug which will put them to sleep forever.
‘Suicide assist’ is a bit of a misnomer as, although Evan makes sure the patient fully understands what they are undertaking, he can only hand them the cup but is unable to help them drink it. There are cameras around the room to make sure all goes smoothly and legally. Evan believes in his job as it helps terminally ill patients to depart this world on their own terms.
Evan’s life outside of the hospital is complicated. He is gay and involved with a male couple that Evan keeps at arms length despite them trying to pull him in closer.
He has moved back home with his mother, Viv, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Her health is rapidly declining. She has asked her son to ‘suicide assist’ her when the time comes. But will Evan be able to assist his own mother in her suicide?
Steven Amsterdam has written about a very topical and morally debatable subject. Euthanasia or assisted suicide is a highly emotional topic but as the author works as a palliative care nurse, it adds much authenticity to the story. This books raises a lot of questions and even if you agree with the principle of euthanasia, when the time comes would you be able to ‘suicide assist’ a family member?