Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (3877)

February 25, 2017

Upcoming VSED Conference

The University of North Carolina Charlotte Ethics Center is cosponsoring a conference at the Center City Building on April 6, 2017 on VSED as an end-of-life care option.   VSED - voluntarily stopping eating and drinking - is a legal option f...
February 24, 2017

The Danger of Using ‘Model Minority’ Narratives in the Aftermath of Trump’s Immigration Orders

By Emily Jenab, MA Hundreds of demonstrations and protests have taken place across the country in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order which targeted immigrants in the reevaluation of visa and refugee programs, otherwise known as the “Muslim Ban.” While the intention of the protests was to reflect America’s inclusivity, the tactics and media … More The Danger of Using ‘Model Minority’ Narratives in the Aftermath of Trump’s Immigration Orders
February 24, 2017

Disrupting the Death Care Paradigm: Challenges to the Regulation of the Funeral Industry and the American Way of Death

Wake Forest University School of Law is hosting a symposium today:  "Disrupting the Death
Care Paradigm: Challenges to the Regulation of the Funeral Industry and the American Way of Death."

There have been a number of academic conferences addressing death and deathcare, but this symposium is unique because it is focused on the very active legal, political, and grassroots challenges to the funeral industry and the dominant paradigm of death care in this country. 

There are two main fronts of challenge to the existing paradigm – first, from those primarily concerned with the occupational licensing regime that shapes the funeral industry and the choices available to the public (i.e. court challenges to the casket laws and the ready to embalm laws); and second, from those primarily concerned with promoting new methods of memorialization and disposition. 


Regulated to Death: Re-Imagining the Funeral Services Market -  Tanya D. Marsh, Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law

Taking the Pulse of Funeral Markets: The Effects of Government Regulations and Private Agents on Funeral MarketsDavid Harrington, Himmelright Professorship in Economics, Kenyon College

Economic Liberty: Constitutional Challenges to Funeral Director Licensing LawsJeff Rowes, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice

There is a Funeral Rule for a Reason: Why it Matters and Why it Needs Modernizing Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance

Panel Discussion: Challenges to Regulation of the Funeral IndustryDavid Harrington, Tanya Marsh, Jeff Rowes & Josh Slocum


Jessica Mitford was Wrong Tanya D. Marsh, Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law

Why Caring for Our Own Dead is an Act of Social Justice - Lee Webster, Director, New Hampshire Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy; President, National Home Funeral Alliance

Basic Cremation: White Bones, Black Boxes, and Alkaline Hydrolysis - Philip Olson, Assistant Professor, Department of Science and Technology in Society, Virginia Tech

A Funeral Entrepreneur’s Experience: What Needs to ChangeAmy Cunningham, Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, New York City

Panel Discussion: Challenges to the American Way of Death - Amy Cunningham, Caitlin Doughty, Tanya Marsh, Philip Olson, & Lee Webster

February 23, 2017

Still further on heritable human gene editing

I want to spend a little time—several consecutive posts—on the subject of heritable gene editing in humans, and on the recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine on it.  The topic bears more attention than a single blog post, written in a bit of a rush, based on only the initial release of the report, pending a deeper dive.  That is... // Read More »
February 23, 2017

Extreme and Outrageous End-of-Life Communication - Beyond the Bounds of Common Decency

I have read hundreds of complaints in end-of-life medical treatment conflicts.  But I have never seen allegations like those in Wilson v. University of Alabama Health Services Foundation.  

I teach the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress in my Torts class.  This is a textbook example.  The family is seeking $10 million in punitive damages.

90-year-old Elizabeth Monk Wilson was taken to UAB Hospital with a "full measures" advance directive.  The clinicians there disagreed with that plan and thought that only comfort measures were appropriate.  But the way in which they conveyed that to the patient is simply beyond belief.  Here are just a few examples from the complaint.

"You’re eaten up with colon cancer which is spreading and partially blocked your colon. You are going to die soon. You have lived your life. Accept your death."

"Don’t you understand what I just said? Your mother is dying and we need to send her home. She is 89—let her die. She has lived her life and needs to let go and die. Our time and treatments will be wasted on her. She simply needs to die. She needs to accept it.  You need to accept it. We need to get her out of here and quit wasting everybody’s time."

"I know what is best for you. When you code, the resuscitation attempt will break your ribs violently and cause you great pain and suffering. Why do you want to go through a violent procedure instead of dying? What is wrong with you? Your life is over. Quit fighting your death."

February 23, 2017

Goodbye Crop Diversity

Here’s a picture from National Geographic showing a stunning decline in the genetic diversity of crops: This is dangerous – diversity is key to avoiding crop failures from disease and pestilence.

The post Goodbye Crop Diversity appeared first on

February 23, 2017

Oregon Death with Dignity Act - Data Summary 2016

The Oregon Public Health Division has released Year 19 data on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.  In 2016, 204 people received prescriptions under the DWDA. As of January 23, 2017, 133 people had died in 2016 from ingesting the prescribed medica...
February 22, 2017

The Knick by Gregory Clark

"The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same" When I first watched The Knick two years ago, it seemed like a show about the past and the rapid pace of medical discoveries in the early days of modern medicine, before antibiotics, when patients were still brought into the […]
February 22, 2017

New Legislation Seeks to Prohibit Clinicians from Stopping Life-sustaining Treatment without Consent

In a series of articles, I have described jurisdictions like Idaho, Oklahoma, and Ontario as "red light" states, because they prohibit clinicians from removing life-sustaining medical treatment without surrogate consent. Now spreading across the count...
February 21, 2017

The Convenings - Meaningful Conversations about Living and Dying Well in Minnesota