Tag: end of life

Blog Posts (74)

July 26, 2015

Atul Gawande’s Look at Mortality, Part 2

I was invited to write a review of the book, Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande recently. While not a Christian book, it addresses end of life issues of interest to all involved with bioethics. This is the second half of the review, the first of which can be found here. Nearly half of Gawande’s book reflects on final things, on letting go of life in... // Read More »
July 23, 2015

Responding to the “Dogma” charge

From time to time, conservative positions on bioethical issues—e.g., opposition to physician-assisted suicide—are met with a charge that religious “dogma” is asserting itself, sometimes successfully, against the dictates of reason.   This charge merits response, although I find it pretty weak.  I personally find it necessary to resist the temptation to be nothing more than a haughty moralist in responding.  Perhaps I am not alone in... // Read More »
July 13, 2015

The Physician’s Imprimatur

In a previous blog response about physician-assisted suicide (PAS), Mark McQuain asked, “Why involve physicians at all?” That question gets too little attention. There are some easily discernible (and perhaps expressed) reasons why physicians are chosen to be the agents of assisting suicide. First, they have access to pain- or consciousness-relieving pharmacologic measures that also have the (in this case) desirable effect of stopping breathing... // Read More »
July 9, 2015

PAS Shelved (For the Moment) in California

California Senate Bill 128, the “End of Life Options Act,” has stalled in the state Legislature, and appears to have no prospects for passage this year.  The bill, which is modeled on Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide (PAS) law, had passed the state Senate 23-15, largely on party lines.  (There are 26 Democrats and 14 Republicans in the state Senate; all Republicans had opposed the bill and... // Read More »
July 5, 2015

Atul Gawande’s Look at Mortality

I was invited to write a review of the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande recently. While not a Christian book, it addresses end of life issues of interest to all involved with bioethics. This is part one of two. Evidence of humankind’s tendency to avoid the inevitable surrounds us in our culture. Burgeoning numbers of technological and surgical enhancements, from Botox to Nano therapy,... // Read More »
June 22, 2015

The Issue of Physician Motive in Physician-Assisted Suicide

Two responses to my June 8th post provide useful points of departure for further discussion about physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The first respondent argued that the Hippocratic Oath states that physicians should not give a “poison,” as opposed to stating that they should not give a “deadly drug.” The respondent’s claim was that inherent in the term “poison” was malintent, which would make the causation of... // Read More »
June 12, 2015

New ATS guidelines on “inappropriate” care

The American Thoracic Society has issued new guidelines regarding requests for treatments that clinicians believe should not be implemented.  Key recommendations: Be proactive in communicating treatment plans and involving specialists in ethics and palliative care, in an attempt to “avoid intractable conflicts.” Limit the use of the word “futile” to interventions “that simply cannot accomplish the intended physiologic goal.”  These should not be provided. Use... // Read More »
June 8, 2015

How Far Can We Fall If There is No Bottom?

A May 26th post in the Bioethics Forum of The Hastings Center asks “Are we reaching a tipping point in the debate over physician aid in dying?” The author cited the case of a Cornell psychologist who opted to commit suicide with physician assistance before Alzheimer’s caused her to lose “all quality of life” and “meaning.” Cases such as these are compelling, because aging, infirmity,... // Read More »
June 4, 2015

Physician-Assisted Suicide Passes California State Senate

California Senate bill SB 128, the “End of Life Options Act,” passed the state Senate today by a 23-14 vote.  The overall makeup of that body is 26 Democrats, 14 Republicans.  I have not yet seen the vote posted to determine whether it passed on a strict party line, or how my (Republican) state Senator voted.   The organization LifeNews.com has a good discussion, which includes... // Read More »
April 25, 2015

The Importance of Advance Directives and Power of Attorneys

This week I had the privilege of job shadowing in the clinical ethics department at a hospital here in Illinois. In clinical ethics, it is impossible to know exactly what your days will look like in advance, since your schedule depends on the varying needs of others in your workplace. There may be several days in a row where no requests for consults come in,... // Read More »