Blog RSS Blog.

05/19/2015

Aruna Shanbaug Dies after 42 Years in PVS

Aruna Shanbaug has died in Mumbai after spending 42 years in a vegetative state.

Shanbaug suffered brain damage from a sexual assault and strangling in 1973 by a cleaner at the hospital where she worked. She remained in a vegetative state in Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital until her death this week.  (Wall Street Journal)


In 2011, the Supreme Court considered Shanbaug’s case after her biographer and friend, Pinki Virani, filed a petition asking judges to order the hospital to stop feeding her and “allow her to die peacefully.”  But, as I wrote at the time, the court denied Virani's petition.


Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/19/2015

Monet and Camille [EOL in Art 9]

Monet lived to 86.  But his wife Camille Doncieux died at just 32.

“Camille Monet sur son lit de mort,” or “Camille on Her Deathbed” (1879) is one of Monet’s most powerful paintings of his wife.


Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/19/2015

Monet and Camille [EOL in Art 9]

Monet lived to 86.  But his wife Camille Doncieux died at just 32.

“Camille Monet sur son lit de mort,” or “Camille on Her Deathbed” (1879) is one of Monet’s most powerful paintings of his wife.


Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/19/2015

Should someone who does not want biological children be diagnosed as infertile?

<p style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In my </span><a style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;" href="/BioethicsBlog/post.cfm/how-should-we-define-infertility-and-who-counts-as-infertile">last blog</a><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">, I discussed some of the problems with the definition of infertility, including that it is based mainly on women's bodies, which implies that men are less likely or not likely to be infertile, and it is based on heterosexual activity, which implies that single individuals and/or individuals in the LGBTQ community cannot experience infertility. I also distinguished between physiological infertility (i.e. infertility due to a biological condition such as low sperm count or blocked tubes) and social infertility (i.e. situational infertility, such as whether one has a partner and if so, if that partner is fertile and together one and one’s partner have the “right” parts to reproduce biologically). In this blog, I want to reflect more on that it means to be infertile and how the role social desire (i.e. the social desire to have biological children) plays in diagnosing this condition.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Imagine two women with the same exact circumstances: they are both 30 years old, in long term heterosexual relationships, and have been having unprotected sex regularly for the last 3 years. The only difference is that one woman, Jessica, wants to have biological children, while the other woman, Katie does not. Should they both be classified as infertile? How does their desire to have or not have biological children shape their medical diagnosis? Should their partners be labeled as infertile too? Does it matter whether Jessica and Katie are physiologically or socially infertile in classifying them as infertile? Does their partners’ interest in having biological children or lack thereof factor into determining if Jessica and Katie are infertile?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><strong style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> </span><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> </span></p>

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care, Reproductive Medicine and tagged , . Posted by Hayley Dittus-Doria. Bookmark the permalink.

05/18/2015

Whispering of Death [EOL in Art 8]

Arnold Böcklin painted this self-portrait in 1872.  Since there seems to be only one string left on the violin, it seems that death is whispering, "I'm coming for you soon."


Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/18/2015

Texas House Votes to Narrow Futility Law

On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.B. 3074.   As I blogged earlier, this bill would exempt clinically assisted nutrition and hydration from the scope of life-sustaining treatment subject to Tex. Health & Safety Code 1...

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/17/2015

History of Cardiac Arrest and Its Effect on Contemporary Medicine (video)

Recently, at the MacLean Center's end-of-life series, Daniel Brauner offered a compelling history of cardiac arrest and its effect on contemporary medicine.  

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/17/2015

Death Will Come for You [EOL in Art 7]

Edvard Munch painted "By the Deathbed in 1895. Here the focus is not so much on the person who has died, but rather on those who have come to grieve him. While the first four mourners from the left are focused on the person who has died, the fifth mou...

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/16/2015

Minnesota Case: Final Exit Network Found Guilty of a Crime for Mere Speech

A 12-member Minnesota jury found Final Exit Network, Inc. guilty of "assisting" in a suicide and interfering with the scene of a death so as to mislead the coroner.  Judge Christian Wilton set the sentencing hearing to take place on August 24. The...

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

05/16/2015

An Official ATS/AACN/ACCP/ESICM/SCCM Policy Statement: Responding to Requests for Potentially Inappropriate Treatments in Intensive Care Unit

Almost all of the major professional association guidelines on medical futility are more than a decade old.  Finally, a new multi-society policy was published online yesterday.  I was pleased to be a part of it.

There is controversy about how to manage requests by patients or surrogates for treatments that clinicians believe should not be administered.  This multi-society statement provides recommendations to prevent and manage intractable disagreements about the use of such treatments in intensive care units. 


The recommendations were developed using an iterative consensus process, including expert committee development and peer review by designated committees of each of the participating professional societies (American Thoracic Society, American Association for Critical Care Nurses, American College of Chest Physicians, European Society for Intensive Care Medicine, and Society of Critical Care). 


The committee recommends: 

  • Institutions should implement strategies to prevent intractable treatment conflicts, including proactive communication and early involvement of expert consultants. 
  • The term “potentially inappropriate” should be used, rather than futile, to describe treatments that have at least some chance of accomplishing the effect sought by the patient, but clinicians believe that competing ethical considerations justify not providing them.
  • Clinicians should explain and advocate for the treatment plan they believe is appropriate. 
  • Conflicts regarding potentially inappropriate treatments that remain intractable despite intensive communication and negotiation should be managed by a fair process of conflict resolution; this process should include hospital review, attempts to find a willing provider at another institution, and opportunity for external review of decisions.

Full Article

This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.