Until recent times medical science could do little to prevent or cure life-threatening diseases that claimed young lives and made infant mortality commonplace. But today those 85 and over form the most rapidly growing percentage of the population. While death from infectious diseases has been widely controlled, only two of the current top 10 causes of death lead to a quick demisethe other eight causes involve diseases or conditions associated with a slow onset and extended decline. For these reasons, end-of-life issues are currently receiving major attention from researchers and practitioners in the diverse fields of medicine, psychology, sociology, ethics, law, and religion.
The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying is a complete guide to death, how it is viewed, and the social and medical issues related to the process. More than 500 entries cover medicine, religion, ethics, psychology, and legal, social, and cultural topics. Extensive appendixes provide further information on preparing for and coping with death, as well as additional resources and references. Examining both the practical and the spiritual aspects of death and dying, this one-stop resource provides a comprehensive survey of this emotional issue.