Of the many critical conversations we will all have throughout our lifetime, few are as important as the ones discussing death–and not just the practical considerations, such as DNRs and wills, but what we fear, what we hope, and how we want to be remembered. Yet few of these conversations are actually happening.
Inspired by his experience with his own father and countless stories from others who regret not having these conversations, Michael Hebb cofounded Death Over Dinner–an organization that encourages people to pull up a chair, break bread, and really talk about the one thing we all have in common. Death Over Dinner has been one of the most effective end-of-life awareness campaigns to date; in just three years, it has provided the framework and inspiration for more than a hundred thousand dinners focused on having these end-of-life conversations.
Let’s Talk About Death (over Dinner) offers keen practical advice on how to have these same conversations–not just at the dinner table, but anywhere. There’s no one right way to talk about death, but Hebb shares time- and dinner- tested prompts to use as conversation starters, ranging from the spiritual to the practical, from analytical to downright funny and surprising. By transforming the most difficult conversations into an opportunity, they become celebratory and meaningful–ways that not only can change the way we die, but the way we live.
by Jason N. Batten, Bonnie O. Wong, William F. Hanks & David Magnus
This issue of the American Journal of Bioethics features a target article by Blumenthal-Barby and Ubel that focuses on patients who are unrealistically optimistic, in denial, or self-deceived. In his excellent commentary, Weinfurt points us toward a particular branch of communication theory—pragmatics—as a fruitful way of evaluating statements made by these patients. He and several other bioethicists have contributed to a small but growing literature applying pragmatics to physician–patient communication, research ethics, and our interpretation of empirical bioethics studies. We believe that pragmatics has the potential to transform how we hear and understand day-to-day communication with patients and their families.…
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
“I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can…to sell the product for the highest price” Nirmal Mulyeto the Financial Times
I have been haunted by the above quote, first reported in the Financial Times on September 11. Mulye, CEO of Nostrom Laboratories, raised the price of an old (1953), formerly inexpensive, antibiotic by 404 percent to nearly $2,400 per bottle (from about $475). Mulye explains his rationale at first by saying that the drug’s only competitor raised their price to $2,800, so his move is really a bargain. He also claims that he has a duty to his stockholders to give them a return for their investment, thus the need to raise the fees.…
In 2012, I coauthored a case report about the successful use of dietary supplements in treating a case of male infertility in the American Family Physician. Before it was published, I was surprised to receive a communication asking me to disclose the fact that I had written a textbook on dietary supplements. It had not… Read more
by Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv
Earlier this year, I was delighted to discover that Dr. Alan Stone had written a review of the book I edited: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, for the blog Lawfare. Most outside of psychiatry will not have heard of Dr. Stone, but he is a well-respected figure among psychiatrists who practice at the intersections of law and ethics, such as myself. I was delighted not because I was anticipating a positive review, but because I hoped that a rigorous discussion without misrepresentation would break open the myopia of my field.…