Tag: end of life

Blog Posts (52)

January 23, 2015

The “End of Life Option Act” Introduced in the California Senate

Today California Senate Bill SB 128 was introduced.  It is described in the press as being comparable to Oregon’s law.  Its status can be followed here.  Apparently (I am betraying my weak knowledge of the civics of my home state here) it is first referred to the California Senate Rules Committee for committee assignment.    I have just downloaded the text and have not studied... // Read More »
January 17, 2015

Can Safety, Freedom And Rationing Co-Exist For The Elderly?

by Susan Mathews, Bioethics Program Alumna (2014) In a recent op-ed article, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former Special Advisor for Health Policy to the Obama Administration, stated that he did not want to live beyond the age of 75. At that point, his productive life would be over and he become a burden rather than a benefit to […]
January 15, 2015

Debating Physician-Assisted Death (i.e.,Physician-Assisted Suicide)

Among the publications I can’t keep up with is the ASCO post, a tabloid-size, 100+ page newspaper that arrives in my mailbox monthly.  But I do peruse it.  December’s offering included a brief summary of a November 2014 debate regarding whether to “Legalize Assisted Suicide,” by the nonpartisan group Intelligence Squared US Debates.   That is the phrase the group used.  It is commonly pointed out... // Read More »
January 8, 2015

Increasing Physician Support for PAS

Just reporting this week…I will leave it to readers to comment beyond my brief comments here… Just before Christmas, my email inbox included a link (registration may be needed to access) from Medscape to a slideshow describing some results of a survey of 21,000 physicians, 17,000 in the US and 4,000 in Europe.  There was a comparison of 2014 results with prior results from 2010. ... // Read More »
January 2, 2015

“Death Over Dinner”

My local newspaper carried this Page 1 story this morning:  there is a national campaign encouraging people to discuss end of life matters with their loved ones by holding a Death Over Dinner gathering between now and January 7.  Well.  Happy New Year. The content sounds on-target: discuss how one wants to live the end of one’s life—how does one feel about aggressive treatment, elder... // Read More »
December 17, 2014

Brain death and uncertainty

The case of Jahi McMath has been back in the news. She was declared brain dead Dec. 12, 2013 after she went into cardiac arrest following a tonsillectomy surgery in California. Her mother did not accept the diagnosis of brain death and moved her to New Jersey where state law allows the continuation of medical treatment for a person who has been declared brain dead... // Read More »
November 27, 2014

An All-Too-Brief Review of Being Mortal

Being Mortal, which is subtitled “Medicine and What Matters in the End,” is about aging and frailty, decline and death, and dealing with those as well as possible.  It’s not really a book about medical ethics or even about medicine as much as about our latter days.  It’s full of stories about the loss of independence, assisted living, nursing homes, intensive care at the end... // Read More »
November 21, 2014

Bioethics Exam

In keeping with the evaluation-obsessed spirit of the time, here is a little bioethics test. No multiple-choice fill-in-the-bubbles here, no simple true/false; but bioethics usually isn’t so simple, is it? So it’s OK if you don’t have a No. 2 pencil, you can still take today’s exam! _______________________ 1. The patient-physician relationship depends on trust, and close observation, and appreciating subtleties, and giving one’s full attention... // Read More »
November 21, 2014

Resident physicians as the key to Do Not Resuscitate orders

At last month’s ASCO Palliative Care conference in Boston, one of the presentations was a survey, done by resident physicians (doctors 1-3 years out of medical school, doing hospital-based, post graduate training) at Tufts Medical Center.  The topic: what their fellow residents thought about conducting conversations with patients about Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders. Some background:  most of the time, these conversations would arise in... // Read More »
November 11, 2014

Dying and Dignity

On November 1st, Brittany Maynard, a 29 year-old Oregonian with an incurable brain tumor, took her own life using a medication prescribed by a physician specifically for this purpose. The medication, legal under the Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, was prescribed weeks earlier. The case is well-known because Brittany became a spokesperson for efforts to expand “assisted suicide” laws to other states. Through her own... // Read More »