Cruel Death, Heartless Aftermath

Cruel Death, Heartless Aftermath
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  • Item #: 9781620063576

My Family's End-of-Life Nightmare and How To Avoid It

Ninety-three-year-old Joseph Yourshaw knew his end was near and had carefully planned so that he would have a peaceful and dignified death. He completed an advance directive, appointed his daughter, Barbara Mancini, as his health care proxy, and enrolled in home hospice care. He made it clear -- he wanted to die at home, in comfort and with dignity, not at a hospital. But it was not to be. A simple act of compassion on Barbara’s part led her father to a medically intensive, horribly painful death in the hospital – and left her an accused felon, facing 10 years in prison. Falsely charged with trying to assist her father in a supposed suicide attempt, she fought back, in a case that consumed a year of her life, cost more than $100,000, and drew national media attention. Readers will learn about the bizarre and outrageous treatment authorities inflicted on her, including details that never appeared in news reports at the time. 

Millions of Americans don’t know it, but they or their loved ones could easily suffer a similar family tragedy. Readers will come to understand the risks they face and discover how to protect against them. The book also explores the combination of forces that so often cause people to die a death devoid of dignity and full of pain. Those forces include taboos about discussing impending death, religious ideology, ignorance of patients’ legal rights, insufficient attention to effective pain management, poor hospice care, and the powerful life-saving imperatives of the health care system. Part memoir, part detective story about an innocent person’s fight against injustice, and part social commentary, Cruel Death, Heartless Aftermath is a compelling narrative that holds valuable lessons for millions of readers.


Barbara Mancini graduated from Penn State University and Widener University with degrees in nursing. She has worked in emergency nursing for over three decades. 

In 2013, she was arrested and prosecuted in Pennsylvania on the charge of aiding the attempted suicide of her dying 93-year old father after handing him his prescribed morphine five days before his death.A hospice nurse and police ignored his written advanced directives, and he was then hospitalized and treated in defiance of his end-of-life wishes. Barbara’s prosecution lasted a year, during which time it garnered national and global attention, and it was roundly criticized throughout the media. 

She has traveled the country speaking about her experience, and has become a vocal advocate for improved end-of-life care and expanded end-of-life options. Her criminal case also led to her interest in criminal justice advocacy, and in 2017 she completed an internship with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. She began work as a paralegal in the pre-trial unit of the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office in 2018. 

She lives in Philadelphia with her family.

by Barbara Mancini
Trade paperback - 6 x 9 x .6
218 Pages
MEDICAL / Terminal Care
LAW / Right to Die
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Price $19.95
Availability In-Stock

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