Hot Topics: End of Life Care

Blog Posts (116)

May 11, 2018

Family-Physician Conflict on Medical Treatment: The Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans Cases

by John J. Paris, SJ

The widely publicized conflicts between families and physicians over treatment decisions for profoundly compromised children in the recent Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans cases revive topics as old as the history of Western medicine on who should determine medical treatment and on what standard.…

April 30, 2018

Are Organ Donors Really Dead: The Near-Irrelevance of Autoresuscitation


by Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D.

In 2017, 10,288 people in the U.S. donated organs after they died. Most were pronounced dead using brain criteria, but 1883 were declared dead the old-fashioned way (using circulatory criteria) because their hearts had stopped beating.…

April 27, 2018

BioethicsTV (April 23-27): #TheResident, #ChicagoMed, #CodeBlack

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Resident (Season 1; Episode 11): Placebos, CYA, Office politics; Chicago Med (Season 3; Episode 17): Promise-making, Denial Brain death (PVS or coma); Code Black (Seasons 3; Episode 1): Do no harm, HIPAA

The Resident (Season 1; Episode 11): Placebos; CYA; Office politics

We learn that the hospital’s motto is “Incredible things are happening here.” That’s ironic because the incredible clearly isn’t meant to be seen in a positive light.…

April 6, 2018

BioethicsTV (April 2-6): #ChicagoMed; #GreysAnatomy

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Chicago Med (Season 3; Episode 14): Record checking; off label use; scope of practice; Grey’s Anatomy (Season 14; Episode 18): Experimental treatment; Saying goodbye

Chicago Med (Season 3; Episode 14): Record checking; off label use; scope of practice
Psychiatry resident Dr.…

March 30, 2018

BioethicsTV (March 26-30): #TheGoodDoctor; #ChicagoMed

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
The Good Doctor (Season 1; Episode 18-Season Finale): Medical errors and battery; Chicago Med (Season 3; Episode 13): Who gets the heart?…

March 22, 2018

BioethicsTV (March 19-23): The Good Doctor, The Resident, Chicago Med

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Good Doctor (Season 1; Episode 17): Cost of healthcare, stealing identities, dating patients; The Resident (Season 1; Episode 8): Patient Dumping; Chicago Med (Season 3; Episode 12): Pedophilia; Cherry-picking; ECMO; teenage pregnancy

The Good Doctor (Season 1; Episode 17): Cost of healthcare, stealing identities, dating patients

In the first storyline,  a patient, “Lucy,” comes to the ER with a post-op infection: She never filled her antibiotic prescription.…

March 17, 2018

BioethicsTV: (March 9-14): Mary Kills People; The Good Doctor; The Resident

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

  1. Mary Kills People (Season 2; Episode 1): Helping the healthy to die

This season picks up where the last season left off, with Desmond in prison and Mary carrying on helping people die.…

February 27, 2018

Snout to Mouth: The Age of Pet CPR Necessitates Pet POLSTS

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Bioethics often confines itself to talking about humans and human health. Although its origins is in how human relates to the environment and there has been growing interest in environmental ethics in recent years, with the exception of serving on an IACUC and Peter Singer’s controversial ideas, bioethics does not write much about animal health.  …

February 22, 2018

Pediatric Participation in Medical Decision Making: Optimized or Personalized?

This post also appears in the March 2018 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics

by Maya Sabatello, Annie Janvier, Eduard Verhagen, Wynne Morrison & John Lantos

Olszewski and Goldkind argue that children’s participation in medical decision making should be “the default position” and that a stepwise approach is needed to ensure that children are routinely given a voice.…

February 9, 2018

BioethicsTV (January 29-February 9): #TheResident, #TheGoodDoctor, #ChicagoMed

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Resident (Season 1; Episode 3): The Cost of a Life The episode opens with residents and nurses attending a required meeting on billing by a “billing consultant”.…

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Published Articles (17)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 5 - May 2018

Responding to Those Who Hope for a Miracle: Practices for Clinical Bioethicists Trevor M. Bibler, Myrick C. Shinall Jr. & Devan Stahl

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

“God is the giver and taker of life”: Muslim beliefs and attitudes regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia Chaïma Ahaddour, Stef Van den Branden & Bert Broeckaert

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 2 - Feb 2018

Resolving Ethical Dilemmas in a Tertiary Care Veterinary Specialty Hospital: Adaptation of the Human Clinical Consultation Committee Model Philip M. Rosoff, Jeannine Moga, Bruce Keene, Christopher Adin, Callie Fogle, Rachel Ruderman, Heather Hopkinso & Charity Weyhrauch

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 4 - Dec 2017

Epistemic injustice in dementia and autism patient organizations: An empirical analysis Karin Jongsma, Elisabeth Spaeth & Silke Schicktanz

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 5 - May 2017

Caring for Patients or Organs: New Therapies Raise New Dilemmas in the Emergency Department Arjun Prabhu, Lisa S. Parker & Michael A. DeVita

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 2 - Feb 2017

Irrational Exuberance: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation as Fetish Philip M. Rosoff & Lawrence J. Schneiderman

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 2 - Feb 2017

LVAD-DT: Culture of Rescue and Liminal Experience in the Treatment of Heart Failure Frances K. Barg, Katherine Kellom, Tali Ziv, Sarah C. Hull, Selena Suhail-Sindhu & James N. Kirkpatrick

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 2 - Feb 2017

CPR and Ventricular Assist Devices: The Challenge of Prolonging Life Without Guaranteeing Health David Magnus & Danton Char

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 7 Issue 3 - Jul 2016

A pilot study of neonatologists' decision-making roles in delivery room resuscitation counseling for periviable births Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, Fatima McKenzie, Janet E. Panoch, Douglas B. White & Amber E. Barnato

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 7 Issue 1 - Apr 2016

A Closer Look at Health Care Providers' Moral Distress Regarding the Withdrawal of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration Kari Esbensen

News (402)

May 16, 2018 9:00 am

Judge tosses California law allowing life-ending drugs (ABC News)

A California judge on Tuesday threw out a 2016 state law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives, ruling it was unconstitutionally approved by the Legislature. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia said lawmakers acted illegally in passing the law during a special session devoted to other topics, said lawyers for supporters and opponents. He did not address the legal issue of whether it was proper to allow people to take their own lives, and gave the state attorney general five days to appeal.

March 7, 2018 9:00 am

U.S. Immigration Policy Threatens Shake-Up In Home Health Business (NPR)

On a rare rainy night in Albuquerque, two dozen students are learning the proper way to care for older people. Teacher Liliana Reyes is reviewing the systems of the body — circulatory, respiratory and so on — to prepare them for an upcoming exam. These students are seeking to join a workforce of about 3 million people who help older adults remain in their homes. They assist these clients with things like bathing, dressing, and taking medication on time. About a quarter of these workers are immigrants.

February 23, 2018 9:00 am

Nursing homes sedate residents with dementia by misusing antipsychotic drugs, report finds (CNN)

Former administrators admitted doling out drugs without having appropriate diagnoses, securing informed consent or divulging risks.

February 22, 2018 9:00 am

Intergenerational care: Where kids help the elderly live longer (CNN)

“The children work with and play with the residents every single day,” said Ali Somers, co-founder of Apples and Honey Nightingale, who also heads evaluation and impact for this program. The premise is intergenerational care, providing wisdom to the young and relationships — and, in turn, longevity — to the old.
February 6, 2018 9:00 am

AI can predict when we'll die — here's why that's a good thing (NBC News)

Now, scientists have found a new medical application for AI: predicting when a seriously ill patient admitted to the hospital will likely die. In hospitals, palliative care teams are charged with improving the quality of life of gravely ill patients and making sure their final wishes are carried out. But clinicians sometimes don’t refer their patients to these specialists because they believe their patients are better off than they really are.

January 9, 2018 3:27 pm

Alzheimer’s protein may spread like an infection, human brain scans suggest (Science)

For the first time, scientists have produced evidence in living humans that the protein tau, which mars the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, spreads from neuron to neuron. Although such movement wasn’t directly observed, the finding may illuminate how neurodegeneration occurs in the devastating illness, and it could provide new ideas for stemming the brain damage that robs so many of memory and cognition.

August 23, 2017 9:00 am

Elderly couple got ‘deepest wish’ — to die together — in rare euthanasia case (Washington Post)

Nic and Trees Elderhorst knew exactly how they wanted to die. They were both 91 years old and in declining health. Nic Elderhorst suffered a stroke in 2012 and more recently, his wife, Trees Elderhorst, was diagnosed with dementia, according to the Dutch newspaper, De Gelderlander. Neither wanted to live without the other, or leave this world alone. So the two, who lived in Didam, a town in the eastern part of the Netherlands, and had been together 65 years, shared a last word, and a kiss, then died last month hand-in-hand — in a double euthanasia allowed under Dutch law, according to De Gelderlander.

July 6, 2017 9:00 am

Transcending the Tragedy Discourse of Dementia: An Ethical Imperative for Promoting Selfhood, Meaningful Relationships, and Well-Being (AMA Journal of Ethics)

Supporting people living with dementia in maintaining selfhood, relationships, and well-being requires seeing beyond the common negative focus on disability. Furthermore, prioritizing the person rather than the disease requires rejecting the tragedy discourse, which is the negative lens through which dementia is typically considered.

July 5, 2017 9:00 am

Living to 125 and beyond: Scientists dispute there's a limit to our lifespans (CNN)

Don’t mess with our collective dreams of immortality. A flurry of new research vigorously opposes a study from last year that dared to suggest there might be a ceiling to the human lifespan.

June 29, 2017 9:00 am

111 people died under California's new right-to-die law (CNN)

One hundred eleven people died last year under California’s new right-to-die law, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s Department of Public Health. The End of Life Option Act went into effect on June 9, 2016. It allows for California residents, age 18 and older, to request life-ending medication from their doctor if they are suffering from a terminal illness and want to set their own timetable for their death. Between June 9 and December 31, 2016, 258 people initiated the process, according to the report. One hundred ninety-one people were prescribed the lethal medication, of which 111 patients “were reported by their physician to have died following ingestion of aid-in-dying drugs prescribed under EOLA.”

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