Tag: end of life

Blog Posts (23)

April 20, 2014

Pint-Sized Pot and Hospice Hallucinations: The Role of Illicit Drugs in Medicine

by Jacob Dahlke, Bioethics Program Alum (MSBioethics 2012) Consider a paradox of sorts: there is a variety of illicit drugs that are used legally for the treatment of medical conditions, and there is a variety of legal drugs that are abused illegally to sustain drug addiction. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Opiate addiction and […]
April 18, 2014

What’s so good about Good Friday? Good Friday and Bioethics

“Why is it called Good Friday?” my ten-year-old son asks. “What’s good about it?” What, indeed. The day we remember a death — and not what people usually mean by a “good” death. When people speak of a good death, they usually mean either that the one dying didn’t die too young or with too much suffering, or that it was as “least-bad” as possible... // Read More »
April 17, 2014

Pediatric Euthanasia Redux

Today brings the online publication in JAMA (free access) of an essay, “Pediatric Euthanasia in Belgium: Disturbing Developments,” by Andrew Siegel (U. Penn), Dominic Sisti (U. Penn) and Arthur Caplan (now at NYU). In specific view is Belgium’s February 2014 amendment to its 2002 law legalizing euthanasia.  The amendment, which is now fully enacted in Belguim, extends lawful euthanasia to children with “constant and unbearable... // Read More »
April 7, 2014

Cyber Life After Death

In The New Yorker this week Laura Parker reports on a new internet start-up that has a technological solution to a vexing old problem: mortality. Eterni.me has the tagline in huge font on its site, “Simply Become Immortal.” The CEO, Marius Ursache, says he is trying to solve the “incredibly challenging problem of humanity.” Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil have been arguing for a while now that... // Read More »
March 30, 2014

Rated NC-17: Why Voluntary Euthanasia of Children is Dead Wrong

by Dr. Patricia Mayer, Bioethics Program Alumna (2009) Belgium just became the first country in the world to extend the option of voluntary euthanasia to children under the age of 12.  Voluntary euthanasia of adults has been legal in that country since 2002, but the Belgian parliament has now decided to remove age restrictions from […]
March 4, 2014

End-of-Life Planning, Roz Chast Edition

Please, please go read this wonderful and moving and honest cartoon about, among other things, why we don't do end-of-life planning, by longtime and beloved New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. Really, go read it. 
October 9, 2013

Stephen Hawking on Aid in Dying

World-famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, is now advocating in favor of physician-assisted death, in the video shown here. I am both very glad that he is still alive, so many years after developing his illness, and that he is advocating for those people...
June 13, 2012

"The Descendants": The Bioethics Movie That Wasn't

Okay, I am probably one of the last people in the United States (no, probably the world) to watch the movie “The Descendants”.…

April 3, 2012

In Memoriam: Fr. Kevin O'Rourke

From the Loyola University Chicago Neiswanger website:

Kevin O’Rourke, O.P., J.C.D., S.T.M., Dominican priest, canon lawyer, and health care ethicist died on Wednesday.  …

June 24, 2011

Patients Gifting to Providers: Ethical or Suspect?

Art Caplan asks this very question in his MSNBC column this week. When a wealthy recluse died at the age of 104, to whom did she leave her fortune?…

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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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