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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

About Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

Munira Abdulla was 32 when she suffered a traumatic brain injury after the car she was riding in was hit by a bus in 1991. She has spent the past 27 years in a minimally conscious state. But last year, following rehabilitation in Germany, she began to...

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Newspaper headlines around the world provocatively ask: "Can Dead Brains Come Back to Life?" (Toronto Star). Even the Wall Street Journal reports: "Scientists Restore Some Brain Function After Death." Commentaries in Nature, this week, suggest that "p...

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My latest Law & Ethics in Oncology column for the ASCO Post is "Full Disclosure: What Oncologists Must Tell Patients About Their Experience and Training."

Informed consent is an important part of delivering quality cancer care. Traditional ethical and legal rules require clinicians to disclose three types of information: (1) the patient’s diagnosis; (2) the nature of the proposed intervention and its intended benefits, risks, and adverse effects; and (3) medically reasonable alternatives and their benefits, risks, and adverse effects.

Recently, however, these traditional informed-consent rules have been expanding also to include non-medical information. Increasingly, clinicians must disclose personal information, such as their training and experience.



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Learn more about "exit guide services" offered by the Final Exit Network.

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Elizabeth Villarreal has just published "Pregnancy and Living Wills: A Behavioral Economic Analysis" in the Yale Law Journal Forum. Here is the abstract:

“Living wills” are a commonly-used form of advance directive that allow people to state their preferences for medical treatment in the event that they become unable to make those wishes known in the future. But many people, including health-care professionals, are surprised to learn that women in the majority of states are not allowed to have binding living wills during parts of their pregnancies. 

These so-called “pregnancy exemptions” are likely unconstitutional. They also do a poor job of capturing pregnant women’s true end-of-life preferences. Behavioral economics, the study of how human psychology influences economic decision-making, can help legislators draft living will statutes that more accurately capture women’s preferences and, in the
process, provide women with greater individual autonomy.



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Elizabeth Villarreal has just published "Pregnancy and Living Wills: A Behavioral Economic Analysis" in the Yale Law Journal Forum. Here is the abstract:

“Living wills” are a commonly-used form of advance directive that allow people to state their preferences for medical treatment in the event that they become unable to make those wishes known in the future. But many people, including health-care professionals, are surprised to learn that women in the majority of states are not allowed to have binding living wills during parts of their pregnancies. 

These so-called “pregnancy exemptions” are likely unconstitutional. They also do a poor job of capturing pregnant women’s true end-of-life preferences. Behavioral economics, the study of how human psychology influences economic decision-making, can help legislators draft living will statutes that more accurately capture women’s preferences and, in the
process, provide women with greater individual autonomy.



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The Victoria Department of Health & Human Services has posted videos as part of the voluntary assisted dying training for medical practitioners. These videos provide examples of how medical practitioners may have some conversations with patie...

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Brian Elzweig has just published "Do Not Resuscitate Tattoos: Adequate Evidence of a Patient's Intent to Die?" in the Oregon Law Review. "As DNR tattoos gain popularity, medical providers are increasingly forced to determine their patients' most vital...

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Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from individuals who have had a near-death experience (NDE) following resuscitation in a medical or surgical setting. 

Studies have found that 10 – 20% of persons who are resuscitated after nearly dying have an out- of-body experience accompanied by a variety of perceptions such as traveling through a tunnel of light, feeling loved, or being received by deceased loved ones. Most NDEs are highly positive experiences, but a percentage are described as hellish, which can be traumatizing to patients. Few patients spontaneously report these experiences to their healthcare providers. While some patients are positively changed by the experience, others struggle with who to tell and how to make sense of the experience. NDEs are reported by patients of all ages, including children.

NIB wants true, personal stories from people who have had an NDE following resuscitation. NIB aims to explore how healthcare workers and loved ones can best support patients following an NDE. NIB is  also receptive to stories from parents of children who have experienced an NDE. Please share this invitation and guide sheet with appropriate individuals.

In writing your story, please consider these questions:

  • How would you describe your NDE? How do you make sense of it?
  • Did you tell any healthcare workers about your NDE? If so, how did they respond? What was helpful? What was unhelpful?
  • Who else did you discuss the experience with, and how did they react?
  • What advice do you have for individuals who experience an NDE, or for family members and healthcare workers who want to support someone who had an NDE?

You do not need to address each of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words and NIB editorial staff will help you.
If you are interested in submitting a story, NIB asks you first to submit a 300-word proposal— a short description of the story you want to tell. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: narrativebioethics@gmail.com. 

NIB will give preference to story proposals received by May 15, 2019. If your story is invited, NIB will ask you to submit it within 6 weeks of the invitation. Final stories are 4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words.
For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage at: http://nibjournal.org/submit/guidelines/

NIB plans to publish 12 stories on this topic in its print edition; additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. NIB also publishes 3 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal. To see a finished symposium, please visit Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics’ page on Project MUSE and click on the unlocked, open-access issue.

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics is indexed in PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and PhilPapers. The journal is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and is available in print and electronically to over 1,600 institutional subscribers via Project MUSE.



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Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from individuals who have had a near-death experience (NDE) following resuscitation in a medical or surgical setting. 

Studies have found that 10 – 20% of persons who are resuscitated after nearly dying have an out- of-body experience accompanied by a variety of perceptions such as traveling through a tunnel of light, feeling loved, or being received by deceased loved ones. Most NDEs are highly positive experiences, but a percentage are described as hellish, which can be traumatizing to patients. Few patients spontaneously report these experiences to their healthcare providers. While some patients are positively changed by the experience, others struggle with who to tell and how to make sense of the experience. NDEs are reported by patients of all ages, including children.

NIB wants true, personal stories from people who have had an NDE following resuscitation. NIB aims to explore how healthcare workers and loved ones can best support patients following an NDE. NIB is  also receptive to stories from parents of children who have experienced an NDE. Please share this invitation and guide sheet with appropriate individuals.

In writing your story, please consider these questions:

  • How would you describe your NDE? How do you make sense of it?
  • Did you tell any healthcare workers about your NDE? If so, how did they respond? What was helpful? What was unhelpful?
  • Who else did you discuss the experience with, and how did they react?
  • What advice do you have for individuals who experience an NDE, or for family members and healthcare workers who want to support someone who had an NDE?

You do not need to address each of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words and NIB editorial staff will help you.
If you are interested in submitting a story, NIB asks you first to submit a 300-word proposal— a short description of the story you want to tell. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: narrativebioethics@gmail.com. 

NIB will give preference to story proposals received by May 15, 2019. If your story is invited, NIB will ask you to submit it within 6 weeks of the invitation. Final stories are 4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words.
For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage at: http://nibjournal.org/submit/guidelines/

NIB plans to publish 12 stories on this topic in its print edition; additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. NIB also publishes 3 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal. To see a finished symposium, please visit Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics’ page on Project MUSE and click on the unlocked, open-access issue.

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics is indexed in PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and PhilPapers. The journal is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and is available in print and electronically to over 1,600 institutional subscribers via Project MUSE.



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