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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope

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09/18/2014

Better to Be Dead than Disabled?

The disability rights group Not Dead Yet is leading a three-day protest vigil against the World Federation of Right to Die Societies which is holding a meeting that I am attending in Chicago.  


Disability rights advocates have certainly expressed some valid concerns about the expansion of options to hasten death.  Legislators, regulators, and clinicians should seriously grapple with concerns like risks of bias and coercion.  


Unfortunately, the disability groups reach far beyond their valid concerns to make hyperbolic comments.  For example, Not Dead Yet president Diane Coleman stated: “We are here to contradict the message of these groups that it’s better to be dead than disabled.”  


That is emphatically not the message of any group attending this meeting.  The core thesis of this meeting is that particular individuals, after careful deliberation, may determine that in their own situation they want to avoid the effects of advanced illnesses like severe dementia.  They would rather die than live a life that they find intolerable. 


There has not been a single suggestion about what individuals ought to choose.  The focus remains on what individuals may choose, on what they have a right to choose for themselves.

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09/18/2014

Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life (IOM 2014)

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine released its 500-page report, Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life.

A substantial body of evidence shows that broad improvements to end-of-life care are within reach. In Dying …

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09/17/2014

Prevalence of Non-Beneficial ICU Treatment

The Ventura County Star has a new story and a poll on medical futility.  In addition to recounting the widely discussed UCLA research, health care reporter Tom Kisken interviews clinicians at other Southern California hospitals.

“I think it happe…

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09/17/2014

International Resource Library on Adult Guardianship

The 3rd World Congress on Adult Guardianship recently convened in Washington, DC. One of the goals of this Congress was to form an online International Resource Library on Adult Guardianship.  That resource is now available here.

The organizers are also looking for more submissions, including papers, brochures, manuals, handbooks and more, are welcome if they would be of help to others.  Submissions may be made by emailing info@nationalguardianshipnetwork.org with the subject line “resource library.” Please provide, in English, a description regarding the document(s) you send, so that they can name and categorize them. 


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09/16/2014

Emotional, Religious Reasons to Keep Grandson in PVS on Life Support

This sad story in the Chicago Tribune powerfully illustrates why one grandmother could not consent to comfort care only for her grandson.  


The grandmother’s daughter had been shot by a gang member while still pregnant.  ”To Jefferson, the baby looked just like her daughter — her face, her color, her hands. But doctors told her [the baby] would remain in a persistent vegetative state, unable to see, hear or breathe on his own.”  Clinicians “urged her to remove him from life support, telling her his condition would never improve.” 


The grandmother “set the date to pull the plug — Oct. 20, 2011, what would have been her daughter’s 18th birthday.  But she had a change of heart as she entered Advocate Christ Medical Center that day.  


“I couldn’t see turning the machine off on him . . ..   Who am I to judge whether he lives or dies, OK?  I think at (the hospital) a lot of them were kind of disappointed with me because they thought actually I was
going to turn the machine off. . . .  But my faith didn’t allow me to do it.”

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09/16/2014

CALL FOR PAPERS Aging, Law, & Society Critical Research Network

CALL FOR PAPERS

Aging,
Law, & Society Critical Research Network

Law
and Society Association Annual Meeting

Seattle,
May 28 – May 31, 2015

The Aging, Law, and Society Critical Research
Network (CRN) invites scholars to participate in a multi-event workshop
sponsored by the CRN as part of the Law and Society Association’s 2014 Annual
Meeting.  The Aging, Law & Society
CRN brings together scholars from across disciplines to share research and
ideas about the relationship between law and aging, including how the law
responds the needs of persons as they age and how law shapes the aging
experience.

At this year’s
meeting, the CRN will sponsor two primary types of panels at the annual
meeting:  (1) themed panel presentations
on topics selected by the programming committee; and (2) workshops in which
scholars present works-in-progress and receive commentary from an assigned
discussant.

Accordingly, the CRN encourages paper proposals on a broad range of issues
related to law and aging.  However, we
especially encourage proposals on the following topics:

·        
Comparative
approaches to elder law and old age policy;

·        
The
interaction between elder law and labor and employment law;

·        
Creative
and empirical methodologies for studying law and aging;

·        
The
conference theme:  law’s promises and law’s pathos in
domestic and transnational contexts.

In
addition to paper proposals, we also welcome:

·        
Ideas and proposals for themed panels:  In particular, please email Nina Kohn at nakohn@law.syr.edu if you are already planning a
panel that you would like to have featured as part of the Aging, Law, and
Society CRN; and

·        
Volunteers to serve as commentators on works-in-progress. 

If you would like to present a paper as part of a the CRN’s
programming, please send a 400-500 word
abstract, with your name, full contact information, and a paper title
to
both Nina Kohn (
nakohn@law.syr.edu) and Nancy
Knauer (
nknauer@temple.edu).   Please indicate the stage at which the paper
will be, or is expected to be, in May of 2014. 
If you wish to present a paper showcasing a research methodology, please
send additional copies to Israel Doron (
idoron@univ.haifa.ac.il) and Daphna Hacker (dafna@post.tau.ac.il).

Please
submit all proposals for paper presentations by no later than October 1, 2014.  
Earlier submissions are highly
encouraged and will be given priority.
 

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09/16/2014

Minnesota Maintains 100 Percent Rate for Advance Care Planning

In study after study after study, researchers bemoan
persistently mediocre rates of advance care planning.  

So, I was delighted to hear the Medical Director or Honoring Choices Minnesota, Ken Gephart, announce at a recent conference that…

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09/16/2014

Vincent Lambert – Treatment Pending European Court of Human Rights

The slow and cumbersome nature of litigation often means that the status quo is preserved for a long time, until judgment.  In the context of end-of-life medical treatment, this usually means that the patient’s biological existence is perpetuated …

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09/15/2014

Law and Bioethics Career Panel

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09/15/2014

Bad Medical Language: "Failure to Die" & "GOMER"

Brian Goldman recently published The Secret Language of Doctors.  In 330 pages, Goldman exposes the clandestine phrases that doctors use to describe patients, situations and even colleagues they detest. This book reveals modern medical c…

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