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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

About Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

Marcos Ariel Hourmann is the first and only doctor to be convicted for practicing euthanasia in Spain. “I Will Celebrate My Death” is a documentary theater production (tickets here) with Hourmann himself about why (in 2005) he have a lethal injection to an 82-year-old woman named Carmen.

Hourmann is staging his own trial — on a stage. Eight audience members sit on the spartan stage as the doctor recounts his story. The performance ends with the “jury members” writing down their verdict on a piece of paper. Responses have been overwhelmingly “not guilty,” but there have been a handful of “guilty” verdicts.


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We have had a long debate in the United States about who can marry whom. But can you marry the dead? In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia). In 2015, the court ruled that the fundam...

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We have had a long debate in the United States about who can marry whom. But can you marry the dead? In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia). In 2015, the court ruled that the fundam...

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There are so many new updates to The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Wolters Kluwer 2020). Here are some of them:

  • Idaho’s first reported judicial decision on end-of-life decision making, finding the Idaho advance directive statute constitutional as it applies to pregnant women.
  • An appellate ruling in California upholding most of the interdisciplinary team approach to medical decision making for unbefriended patients in long-term care facilities. 
  • Promulgation of federal regulations that expand and protect statutory conscience rights in health care, including with respect to advance directives and medical aid in dying.
  • Enactment of the Maine Death with Dignity Act and the New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, bringing the number of U.S. MAID jurisdictions to ten.
  • Expansion of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to waive the 15-day waiting period for patients expected to die sooner than that. 
  • Enhanced criminal penalties for assisted suicide in two states.
  • The first enactment of a dementia-specific power of attorney for health care decisions that includes an end-of-life decisions addendum statement of desires permitting refusal of “food and water” by mouth. 
  • Expanded access to and/or rights under advance directives in five states.
  • Enactment of the another Supported Decision Making Act, as an alternative to guardianship and surrogate decisionmaking.
  • Three additional Simon’s Laws requiring notification and/or consent before writing a pediatric DNR order.
  • New POLST statutes in two states, and an expanded POLST statute in another.
  • Additional safeguards for advance directives and surrogates in two states.
  • Expanded surrogate lists and powers in four states.
  • New or expanded advance directive registry statutes in four states.
  • Statutory mandates to inform and educate appropriate patients about palliative care in two states.
  • Establishment of palliative care and hospice advisory councils and task forces in five more states.

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There are so many new updates to The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Wolters Kluwer 2020). Here are some of them:

  • Idaho’s first reported judicial decision on end-of-life decision making, finding the Idaho advance directive statute constitutional as it applies to pregnant women.
  • An appellate ruling in California upholding most of the interdisciplinary team approach to medical decision making for unbefriended patients in long-term care facilities. 
  • Promulgation of federal regulations that expand and protect statutory conscience rights in health care, including with respect to advance directives and medical aid in dying.
  • Enactment of the Maine Death with Dignity Act and the New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, bringing the number of U.S. MAID jurisdictions to ten.
  • Expansion of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to waive the 15-day waiting period for patients expected to die sooner than that. 
  • Enhanced criminal penalties for assisted suicide in two states.
  • The first enactment of a dementia-specific power of attorney for health care decisions that includes an end-of-life decisions addendum statement of desires permitting refusal of “food and water” by mouth. 
  • Expanded access to and/or rights under advance directives in five states.
  • Enactment of the another Supported Decision Making Act, as an alternative to guardianship and surrogate decisionmaking.
  • Three additional Simon’s Laws requiring notification and/or consent before writing a pediatric DNR order.
  • New POLST statutes in two states, and an expanded POLST statute in another.
  • Additional safeguards for advance directives and surrogates in two states.
  • Expanded surrogate lists and powers in four states.
  • New or expanded advance directive registry statutes in four states.
  • Statutory mandates to inform and educate appropriate patients about palliative care in two states.
  • Establishment of palliative care and hospice advisory councils and task forces in five more states.

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Coming out next month is yet another book on how to avoid living with late-stage dementia. The title says it all: "O, Let Me Not Get Alzheimer's, Sweet Heaven!" This demand motivates much of my research on VSED.

Hardly a day goes by without some newspaper story, personal memoir or medical report referring to Alzheimer’s Disease, arousing personal fears or memories of relatives and friends whose lives have been changed permanently by this condition. Grim as it is to suffer the ravages of this disease, many people are as concerned about the last few years and months of life as an Alzheimer’s patient as they are about the earlier day-to-day physical and cognitive defects.

In this book, Dr Colin Brewer explains the condition, with case histories, and addresses the issue of assisted dying, usually discussed as an option with terminal physical illness, as one way patients and their carers might gain peace of mind as the disease is diagnosed and its uncertain progress addressed. For people who would like to feel that they will have some control over the end of their lives before the disease does its worst, Colin Brewer supplies detailed guidance on such topics as advance decision-making and living wills.


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Coming out next month is yet another book on how to avoid living with late-stage dementia. The title says it all: "O, Let Me Not Get Alzheimer's, Sweet Heaven!" This demand motivates much of my research on VSED.

Hardly a day goes by without some newspaper story, personal memoir or medical report referring to Alzheimer’s Disease, arousing personal fears or memories of relatives and friends whose lives have been changed permanently by this condition. Grim as it is to suffer the ravages of this disease, many people are as concerned about the last few years and months of life as an Alzheimer’s patient as they are about the earlier day-to-day physical and cognitive defects.

In this book, Dr Colin Brewer explains the condition, with case histories, and addresses the issue of assisted dying, usually discussed as an option with terminal physical illness, as one way patients and their carers might gain peace of mind as the disease is diagnosed and its uncertain progress addressed. For people who would like to feel that they will have some control over the end of their lives before the disease does its worst, Colin Brewer supplies detailed guidance on such topics as advance decision-making and living wills.


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If you are looking for an accessible primer on ethical and legal issues in a wide range of end-of-life medical interventions, check out "Ethical and Legal Considerations in End-of-Life Care" in the September 2019 issue of Primary Care: Clinics in Offic...

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If you are looking for an accessible primer on ethical and legal issues in a wide range of end-of-life medical interventions, check out "Ethical and Legal Considerations in End-of-Life Care" in the September 2019 issue of Primary Care: Clinics in Offic...

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The annual Conference on Medicine and Religion will be at Ohio State University from March 22 to 24, 2020. Abstracts are due by September 27, 2019.

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