Tag: end of life

Blog Posts (39)

October 13, 2014

The Indignity of a Death with Dignity

The story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year old newlywed who has been given the diagnosis of terminal glioblastoma, an especially aggressive brain tumor, has gone viral over the past week. Many know the story already, but it centers on her decision to end her life by taking an oral medication prescribed by her physician, who will be sitting at her bedside with her husband and... // Read More »
September 25, 2014

So when do you hope to die?

Perhaps you’ve seen it already:  the ever-more-present Dr. Emanuel has a piece in The Atlantic entitled “Why I hope to die at 75.”  Follow the link and you can read it for free online. I confess that, upon learning of the title and the author, my mind was flooded with wisecracks.  I publicly repent of those and will repeat none of them here. I don’t... // Read More »
September 10, 2014

Are Some Life Saving Treatments Overkill?

Thanks to the popularity of medical television shows, most people have witnessed hundreds of fictional cardiac arrests in their lifetime. In most of these scenes, the patient loses consciousness, and the medical team rushes to the bedside: “He’s in V-fib.” … Continue reading
August 28, 2014

“Release to Elsewhere” and (vs?) the Reality

World magazine suggests that the movie version of Lois Lowry’s youth novel The Giver is an important entrée to discussions about human dignity, abortion, and euthanasia. My wife and I saw it last weekend.  Our response to the above:  Maybe, but probably not. The overwhelming message of the movie seems to be about human freedom:  If people have freedom, they will make bad choices, but... // Read More »
August 14, 2014

Taking the Icy Plunge (Or Not)

by Sean Philpott-Jones, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Clinical Leadership There’s an epidemic that is sweeping this country. It’s not Ebola, despite all of the hype and misinformation about that disease that has dominated the news in the past two weeks. Rather, I’m talking about the ice bucket challenge. Anyone who has watched television […]
July 16, 2014

de Beauvoir’s A Very Easy Death

My dissertation advisor recommended that I read Simone de Beauvoir’s A Very Easy Death when I was writing my dissertation on ambivalence. …

June 22, 2014

The Fountain of Youth

 “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Two weeks ago, family physician Joe Gibes wrote on the shaky medical footing of low testosterone treatment.  This week, Brian Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News that the FDA has issued warnings about thrombotic events... // Read More »
June 19, 2014

Values and Covenants

As has been noted several times on this blog, there is much current discussion of what constitutes “value” in medical/health care.  This is not surprising given the concerns about how much (one-sixth) of the US’s overall economic output is spent on doctors, hospitals, drugs, imaging tests, etc. in the name of getting and keeping Americans well.   One might pause to ask how the language of... // Read More »
May 30, 2014

Your Doctor Has a DNR Order, But Not for the Reasons You’d Think

by Jacob Dahlke, Bioethics Program Alum (MSBioethics 2012) How many doctors would choose to have a “Do-Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order over a full code option? 88.3%, at least according to a new study. For those counting at home, that’s greater than percentage of Americans who currently disapprove of the job that Congress is doing. This means that nearly 9 […]
May 30, 2014

Your Doctor Has a DNR Order, But Not for the Reasons You’d Think

by Jacob Dahlke, Bioethics Program Alum (MSBioethics 2012) How many doctors would choose to have a “Do-Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order over a full code option? 88.3%, at least according to a new study. For those counting at home, that’s greater than percentage of Americans who currently disapprove of the job that Congress is doing. This means that nearly 9 […]

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Published Articles (3)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 7 - Jul 2011

A Philosophical Obituary: Dr. Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83 Leaving End of Life Debate in the US Forever Changed

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 11 Issue 2 - Feb 2011

Book Review of D. Micah Hester, End of Life Care and Pragmatic Decision Making

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 7 Issue 10 - Oct 2007

"Show Me" Bioethics and Politics

News (46)

October 23, 2012 6:01 pm

Watch your Words! The Challenges of Law Around the End of Life (Oxford Uinversity Blog)

[I]n South Australia last week, a bill has been proposed to clarify the legal status of advance directives. One very small part of that bill involves a modification to an older palliative care act. The modification corrects an ambiguity in wording in the earlier act. The ambiguity is subtle. However, that choice of words has had major consequences for seriously ill children and adults in South Australia and for health practitioners. It is a salutary reminder of how hard it is to enact good laws in the area of end of life, and how easily such laws can make things worse rather than better.

September 21, 2012 8:12 pm

After Death, Helping to Prolong Life (The New Tork Times)

EDINA, Minn. — Just down the hallway, in Room 356, Curtis Kelly’s body lay covered to the chest by a white blanket, his torso rising and falling with the help of a ventilator. A neurologist at Fairview Southdale Hospital had declared him brain-dead nearly six hours earlier.  Mr. Kelly’s far-flung family — a son, three siblings, a sister-in-law, his girlfriend and the daughter of a former girlfriend — had gathered in a narrow conference room in the intensive care unit so that John P. LeMay could ask permission to recover his tissue and organs.

 

August 14, 2012 7:47 pm

End-of-Life Care for Kids Raises Ethics Issues (MedPage Today)

Healthcare providers should have rapid access to legal remedies for end-of-life disputes involving children whose parents resist withdrawal of aggressive therapy on the basis of religious beliefs, authors of a review concluded.  Over a 3-year period, 17 of 203 cases could not be resolved after lengthy discussions with parents. Subsequently, most of the cases were resolved, but five remained undecided, each because of the parents’ belief in a miracle for their children, according to an article published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

August 14, 2012 7:45 pm

Deeply Religious Parents Often Reluctant to Cease Medical Care (ABC News)

Arthur Caplan, the head of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, recalls a case of a man who had beaten his six-month-old child to death. It was a horror the mother simply could not accept.  A deeply religious woman, she pushed the doctors to do more, telling them that God would intervene and allow her daughter to make a miraculous recovery. For several hours there was a tense standoff between caregivers and parent.

August 7, 2012 9:35 pm

At the End of Life, Talk Helps Bridge a Racial Divide (The New York Times)

Living or dying is not at issue. The question this family confronts is how the patient will die: a little sooner, with adequate morphine, surrounded by loved ones in the hospice unit, or a little later, in a never dark or quiet patch of the I.C.U., ribs broken by failed, if well-intentioned, CPR.  Add to this the following: The patient and family are black. And while race should not be relevant at this moment, research tells us otherwise.

July 27, 2012 5:57 pm

Are Doctors More Likely to Refuse CPR? (The Atlantic)

Are doctors more likely to refuse revival in the event of cardiac arrest? In the Hopkins study, 90 percent of doctors said they’d rather die by cardiac arrest than be resuscitated. Only a quarter of the public feels the same way.  Do doctors know something we don’t about the miracles of CPR? In one Japanese study of 95,000 CPR cases, just eight percent of patients survived for longer than a month after being revived.

July 26, 2012 4:25 pm

King: U.S. lifestyles to blame for high health costs (Houston Chronicle)

Another challenge for the U.S. with respect to overall health care costs is our cultural approach to end of life care. Medicare now estimates that 27 percent of its budget goes for care provided in the last year of life, and a big chunk of that is spent in the last few weeks of a person’s life. The Lien Foundation did a study on end of life care in 40 developed countries. While the U.S. ranked high on the availability and quality of end-of-life care, its cost of care was one of the highest.

July 11, 2012 6:41 pm

Legal Euthanasia Didn’t Raise Death Rate, Researchers Say (Bussinessweek)

“Countries differ greatly in demography, culture and organization of medical care,” Lo, who is also director of the medical ethics program at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in a comment accompanying the study. More in- depth information is needed to better understand how patients and physicians reach their decisions, he said.

July 10, 2012 4:23 pm

Doctor accused of ending patients' lives prematurely (ABC Online)

There are calls for a Queensland doctor to be stripped of his right to practice medicine and investigated over allegations he prematurely ended the lives of patients under his care.  Former Queensland Medical Board investigator Jo Barber says the doctor’s actions are so dangerous he could have been charged with manslaughter or murder.  Ms Barber says there are a number of deaths linked to the doctor, who, after fronting the state’s medical board, was allowed to continue practising as long as he was not working in intensive care.

July 9, 2012 9:12 pm

Ensuring a good death: a public health priority (Oxford University Press Blog)

Protecting the health and wellbeing of the population directly or indirectly involved with death and dying is a huge public health challenge. Currently, high quality end of life care is not yet available in most parts of the world, and in those countries where it is available it is not accessible or not initiated timely for all in need, independent of their disease, age, gender, socioeconomic, or ethnic background. Largely as a result of that, a large majority receives overly aggressive treatment until death or shortly before death, has undertreated psychological and physical symptoms at the end of life, and is not able to die in a place or manner that accords with their personal preferences.

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