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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope

About Thaddeus Mason Pope

07/27/2014

New NINR Video Focuses on Preparing for the End of Life

A new video, co-produced by the National Institute of Nursing Research seeks to help people by answering one of life’s most sensitive questions: how can a person best prepare for the end of life? 





Developed to highlight content from NINR’s recently released End of Life module, the video stresses the importance of learning about end of life care options, which focus on comfort and quality of life.


NINR Director Dr. Patricia A. Grady, the featured speaker in the video, explains “A person can best prepare for the end of life by becoming informed. So many of us have questions about death and dying but hesitate to ask them. Our module provides comprehensive information about the many issues that can arise at the end, from the physical, emotional, and mental symptoms associated with dying to more practical concerns, such as where to find end-of-life care.”   

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07/25/2014

Even after Tracey Decision, Unilateral & Covert DNR Orders Continue

Last month, the UK Court of Appeal confirmed that while clinicians do not need family consent to write a DNR order, they must at least consult with families before writing a DNR order on an incapacitated patient.  

But a court decision does not c…

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07/23/2014

Death & Medical Treatment – New Symposium

The August 2014 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics includes a symposium of over 20 articles on the intersection of medical treatment and death.  

I was unable to contribute to this issue because of competing manuscript deadlines this…

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07/22/2014

Kim Teske – Compelling Story of VSED

The Globe & Mail has a very extensive story on Kim Teske and her use of VSED to die on her own terms.







































Teske had Huntington’s, an incurable genetic disease that combines aspects of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. She feared that, if she did not act now, she will end her days in an institution with strangers pushing mush into her mouth and hosing her down after she defecates.  


So, Teske stopped eating and drinking. Around noon on day 12 of her fast, Teske died peacefully, with none of the delirium or agitation that some watchers had anticipated.

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07/22/2014

Wake Up to Dying Project

The Wake Up to Dying Project is an awareness and action campaign that encourages people to think and to talk about dying.  The organizers do this by gathering and sharing stories about death, dying, and life. They also do this through art and hands-on opportunities to explore these important subjects.


The organizers believe that if we consider this difficult subject more purposefully we will be more prepared, practically and emotionally, to face this shared human experience. We might find ourselves more willing to participate in the dying process of a loved one or a neighbor. We might even be less afraid to think about our own deaths.


One cool aspect of the Project is a traveling exhibit which will offer people a safe and engaging place to listen to personal stories about death, dying, and life.



Exhibit visitors will hear audio stories from over fifty individuals, including: (a) people who are dying, and their family members; (b) experts such as doctors, nurses, chaplains and those who work regularly with the dying; people with particular insights about the process of grieving a lost loved one.  The audio stories will be complemented by abstract video and contemplative hands-on activities.


The exhibit will be housed in a mobile unit that travels from community to community and stays in each location for five to ten days. By parking on ‘Main Street,’ we hope to encourage participation from a large cross section of a community.


When visitors leave the listening trailer they enter a tent where engagement opportunities are offered, including local volunteer work and community art projects. They will also be invited to record and share their own stories. The tent is designed to act as a community space for the duration of the exhibit, and will be offered to local organizations to host related workshops, trainings, panels, and films. 

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07/19/2014

Do Oregon and North Dakota Healthcare Surrogates Perform Better?

In most states an individual can appoint a healthcare agent not only without the consent of the agent but also without even discussing the appointment with the agent.  In fact, many healthcare surrogates fulfill the role of substitute decision mak…

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07/18/2014

Pope Cited by NRLC before Senate Judiciary Committee

Many of my (pro-liberty) positions on end-of-life medical treatment issues do not endear me to the National Right to Life Committee.  

But I do aim to produce careful and circumspect scholarship.  Consequently, I was pleased to see the presi…

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07/17/2014

Only a Third Who Express a Preference to Die at Home, Actually Die at Home

There is a well-known discrepancy between people’s preferences to die at home and their likelihood to actually die at home.  This has already been measured several times.  Now, there is additional confirmation.

Last week, the UK Office of Na…

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07/17/2014

Rationing Is Not a Four-Letter Word

Philip M. Rosoff is a practicing physician and Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, where he is also a member scholar of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine, and Director of Clinical Ethics at Duke University Hospital.

He has just published Rationing Is Not a Four-Letter Word with MIT Press.  I like this book’s thesis and explored it (a little) in some posts like “Top 10 North American Death Panels.”


Here is the abstract:

Most people would agree that the healthcare system in the United States is a mess. Healthcare accounts for a larger percentage of gross domestic product in the United States than in any other industrialized nation, but health outcomes do not reflect this enormous investment. In this book, Philip Rosoff offers a provocative proposal for providing quality healthcare to all Americans and controlling the out-of-control costs that threaten the economy. He argues that rationing—often associated in the public’s mind with such negatives as unplugging ventilators, death panels, and socialized medicine—is not a dirty word. A comprehensive, centralized, and fair system of rationing is the best way to distribute the benefits of modern medicine equitably while achieving significant cost savings.

Rosoff points out that certain forms of rationing already exist when resources are scarce and demand high: the organ transplant system, for example, and the distribution of drugs during a shortage. He argues that if we incorporate certain key features from these systems, healthcare rationing would be fair—and acceptable politically. Rosoff considers such topics as fairness, decisions about which benefits should be subject to rationing, and whether to compensate those who are denied scarce resources. Finally, he offers a detailed discussion of what an effective and equitable healthcare rationing system would look like.

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07/16/2014

Defending Advance VSED – Hasten Death by Dehydration

VSED has been getting a lot of attention lately.  NPR radio host Diane Rehm discussed her husband’s use of VSED to hasten his death.  Sir Chris Woodhead discussed VSED in the ongoing assisted dying debate that will reach the House of Lords on…

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