Blog Posts (45)
July 16, 2014
My dissertation advisor recommended that I read Simone de Beauvoir’s A Very Easy Death when I was writing my dissertation on ambivalence. …
June 16, 2014
by Barron H. Lerner, M.D., Ph.D.
When an article promoting the idea of medical futility appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1990, my father was thrilled. …
May 21, 2014
<p>The seventh annual <a href="http://www.nhdd.org/">National Healthcare Decisions Day</a> (NHDD) was held on April 16<sup>th</sup> of this year, and events at national, state and local levels were held to educate people about the importance of advance care planning and encourage participants to complete advance directives. Providing resources and information that drives home the message about how important it is to let others know one’s preferences for healthcare and end of life care is intended to promote conversation and documentation of these wishes which are then implemented when the individual is no longer able to express preferences for themselves. But does it do enough to generate interest in those who prefer to avoid such unpleasantries?</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Repeated studies show that advance directive completion rates are low in the US. People simply do not like to talk about end of life, and it is not clear that the NHDD, however well intended, is making the topic any more palatable. Designating a day to recognize the importance of advance directives is an important start, and the materials are often excellent. <a href="https://www.agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes.php">Five wishes</a>, for example, gives a carefully crafted set of questions to help people thoughtfully consider what matters most to them when it comes to medical intervention, particularly in the end of life context. Still, this only works if people come to the table for the conversation.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px;">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></p>
May 20, 2014
by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.
Like many others, I followed the very unfortunate case of Jahi McMath. McMath is a 13 year-old black child who went into cardiac arrest and suffered irreparable brain damage after undergoing a tonsillectomy to relieve sleep apnea.…
May 5, 2014
by Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD
On May 1, 2014, New York State Senator Kemp Hannon introduced S.B. 7156, to amend the 2010 Family Healthcare Decisions Act. …
May 1, 2014
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
I just finished reading the popular fiction novel Cell by Robin Cook. This medical thriller revolves around George Wilson, a radiology resident who finds people dying suddenly after receiving diagnoses of terminal illnesses including his fiancé and next-door-neighbor.…
April 21, 2014
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) along with Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill to the U.S.…
April 17, 2014
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
This week is host is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The goal of this April 16th event is to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Events are being held nation-wide to encourage people to complete advance directive forms as well as to have conversations with their friends and family about end-of-life health care wishes.…
March 17, 2014
by Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD
In December, I defended the term “death panel” on this blog. Specifically, I demonstrated that we already have, and for over 50 years have had, quite a number of tribunals that act as death panels. …
March 9, 2014
<p>As a clinical ethicist, many of the requests for assistance that come my way have to do with advance directives, either the lack of any documented wishes, incomplete or unfamiliar forms, or otherwise confusing messages about what a patient truly wants when it comes to life sustaining medical treatment. Too often, my help is needed when the patient is no longer able to tell others what he or she wants and does not want. On one such call, a group of compassionate nurses and I sifted through a charts to see what we could learn about a particular patient’s known wishes. In the course of our conversation, a nurse asked me if I had heard about LaCrosse, Wisconsin where 98% of the town’s population has advance directives. After giving me a quick summary between her own patient charting, delivering meds, and coordinating a pending admission, she printed the article. For anyone who missed it (like me) the link is here: <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/03/05/286126451/living-wills-are-the-talk-of-the-town-in-la-crosse-wis">LaCrosse Wisconsin on NPR</a>.</p>
<p><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px;">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></p>
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July 22, 2014 11:28 am
A German court ruled on Tuesday that some people suffering from chronic pain should be able to cultivate their own cannabis “for therapeutic purposes”.
June 23, 2014 1:55 pm
After a long ICU stay because of septic shock and multiple complications, a frail 77-year-old man had a fall and suffered an acute subdural hematoma and hemorrhagic contusion. Twelve days after evacuation of the subdural hematoma, he remains in a coma and is still receiving mechanical ventilation. How should decisions be made about further treatment?
June 3, 2014 2:01 pm
The federal government may reimburse doctors for talking to Medicare patients and their families about “advance care planning,” including living wills and end-of-life treatment options — potentially rekindling one of the fiercest storms in the Affordable Care Act debate.
May 19, 2014 2:46 pm
Colorado, Missouri and Louisiana are poised to become the first states in the nation to give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs without the blessing of the Food and Drug Administration, setting the stage for what could be a lengthy battle over who should decide whether a drug is too risky to try.
May 9, 2014 7:58 pm
When older hospitalized patients need revival by CPR, more than half are likely to die before they are discharged, according to a new study.
May 6, 2014 3:44 pm
If you are one of the estimated 70 percent of Americans who have not documented your end-of-life healthcare preferences, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma hopes a cash incentive will prompt you to do the paperwork.
April 16, 2014 2:08 pm
With taxes filed, Americans today are being asked to consider life’s other certainty: death, and the myriad complications that often now accompany it.
April 16, 2014 2:04 pm
It seems as if barely a year goes by without a painful, public and often politicized controversy over whether or not someone is in a “vegetative state,” beyond consciousness and some say the need for life support. The most famous case was that of Terri Schiavo in 1990.
March 28, 2014 2:46 pm
The mother of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl declared brain dead by multiple neurologists more than three months ago, insisted Thursday that her daughter was “asleep” and “blossoming into a teenager.”
March 24, 2014 2:34 pm
Just hours after social-media supporters of a dying 7-year-old boy pressured a reluctant biotech company into giving him an experimental medication, the backlash began.
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