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January 17, 2017

ASBH 19th Annual Meeting - Call for Proposals

The ASBH 19th Annual Meeting will be October 19-22, 2017, in Kansas City, MO.  Come join more than 1,200 healthcare professionals, educators, consultants, and others who have an interest in the field of clinical and academic bioethics and the health-related humanities.

The call for proposals will close at 11:59 pm Pacific Time, Friday, March 3, 2017.  There are now five presentation formats.

3.5 Hour Session
These sessions are usually offered as extra-cost events before the beginning of the annual meeting proper. Pre-conference sessions usually focuson teaching content knowledge, developing a skill, or assisting members with a project. Your description should address why the content is best presented in a 3.5 hour timeframe; why the target audience will come to the meeting early and pay more for this session; the methods you will use to build skills or transmit information; and the specific expertise or background that qualifies the faculty to teach this workshop.

90 Minute Session
90 minute sessions are designed for instruction and interaction and may be used for workshops or longer panel presentations. Presenters may engage and involve the members of the audience for a significant portion of the session in small group activities, breakouts, role play, audience feedback, or discussion of cases or other content, design of materials and models, and similar forms of interactions. These sessions are limited to 4 presenters, preferably from multiple disciplines and institutions.

60 Minute Session
The ideal 60-minute session compares and contrasts a variety of perspectives on a cohesive theme or includes presentations that are cross-disciplinary and build on one another. Panels are limited to 4 presenters who should be from multiple disciplines and institutions. One of these 4 presenters will serve as a moderator, and will be responsible for teeing up the discussion, introducing the presenters, keeping the session on schedule, and facilitating questions and answers as time allows.

20 Minute Session
In this format, individuals will have 15 minutes to present a brief structured discussion or lecture based on a work-in-progress or a paper whose central, substantive content has not been previously published, followed by 5 minutes to address questions from the audience. Up to three presentations will be grouped in a 60-minute session or four presentations will be grouped in a 90-minute session.

5 Minute Session
In this “flash” session format, individuals will have 5 minutes to present 3 slides: one with a title and their name and institution, a second with key points on a work-in-progress or a completed project, and a third with a bibliography. Members of the ASBH Board of Directors and Program Committee will moderate presentations and interactions with the audience by approximately 10 individuals in a 60-minute session.

January 16, 2017

Does Having Too Much Money Make Us Stupid?

As a science, economics does not always succeed at predicting how humans behave. The discipline assumes a level of rationality, and an ability to process complex information, that far exceeds human capacity. But as a standard for how people ought to behave, … Continue reading

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January 16, 2017

Trial in Dunn/Kelly Case Challenging TADA Pushed to July 2017

The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the medical futility dispute resolution provisions in the Texas Advance Directives had been scheduled to begin this month.  But it has been pushed back to July. Check out my analysis of the constit...
January 15, 2017

2nd International Conference on End of Life: Law, Ethics, Policy and Practice

Join me at the 2nd International Conference on End of Life: Law, Ethics, Policy and Practice (ICEL 2017) from 13 – 15 September 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

This is a multidisciplinary, multinational conference, with presenting disciplines including, but not limited to, law, medicine, nursing, philosophy and bioethics, and representation spanning health and legal practitioners, academics, NGOs, and regulators and policy-makers.

Further information about registration and the conference program is available from the conference website.

The call for abstracts is now open and will close on 15 February 2017. Abstracts are particularly welcomed within the following streams:

  • Withholding and withdrawing potentially life-sustaining treatment (e.g. the “futile treatment” debate, artificial hydration and nutrition)
  • Palliative sedation
  • Advance directives and advance care planning
  • Medical assistance in dying (euthanasia and assisted suicide)
  • Other end of life law, ethics, policy, and practice issues.

This conference will be co-hosted by the Dalhousie Health Law Institute, Dalhousie University, Canada; the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; and the International Collaborative for End of Life Care Research (based in Belgium and the Netherlands).

For conference updates and further information please visit or contact

January 15, 2017

A Clinician's Guide to Privacy and Communication in the ICU

Make your staff read this short article in Critical Care Medicine.  So many clinicians believe that HIPAA constrains their ability to communicate with patient's families far more than it really does. This expert analysis helps bust those myths. ...
January 14, 2017

Speaking of Dying - Screening in Saint Paul, MN

Film Screening and Discussion on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 7 pm - 8:30 pm at Clouds in Water Zen Center, 455 N Farrington Street, St Paul, MN 55103

Speaking of Dying” captures the importance of individuals and groups   speaking openly about all aspects of the dying process. The interviews and stories in this 30-minute documentary reveal the complexities of end-of-life  choices while demonstrating resources and attitudes that can empower us. Most of all this will help you believe that your can have a peaceful and meaningful ending that will be a gift to you and to your loved ones. 

Facilitated by Laurel Riedel, Advanced Practice RN or 612-868-4116
Find us on Facebook: Speaking of Dying Minnesota

January 14, 2017

Federal Legislation to EXCLUDE Advance Care Planning under Medicare

Congressman Steve King has re-introduced a bill to exclude coverage of advance care planning services under the
Medicare program. 

Unfortunately, King fundamentally either misunderstands or deliberately mischaracterizes the current program, which is focused on soliciting and honoring the individual's own treatment preferences, not about limiting or constraining choice in any way.

"My legislation prohibits Medicare payments for end-of-life counseling, blocking this harmful regulation before our government imposes yet another life-devaluing policy on the American people. ”   

“A year ago this month, the government increased control over one of the most highly personal healthcare decisions an individual can make when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began paying doctors to counsel patients about end-of-life care."

"Allowing the federal government to marry its need to save dollars with the promotion of end-of-life counseling is not in the interest of millions of Americans who were promised life-sustaining care in their older years in exchange for their compelled funding of the program during their working years. 

"Furthermore, this exact provision was removed from the final draft of Obamacare in 2009 as a direct result of public outcry. The worldview behind the policy has not changed since then and government control over this intimate choice is still intolerable to those who respect the dignity of human life."

January 13, 2017

Fordham University’s Dr. Celia B. Fisher on Bystander Apathy

  Since the election of Donald Trump in November, there has been a 35 percent increase in hate crimes across New York City, according to Straus News.  Throughout the presidential campaign, reported NYPD statistics of the city’s hate crime count has doubled in a year with 43 incidents in the 27 days following the election. The … More Fordham University’s Dr. Celia B. Fisher on Bystander Apathy
January 13, 2017

Physician Power to Declare Death by Neurologic Criteria Threatened

My new article with Ariane Lewis is now available from NEUROCRITICAL CARE - "Physician Power to Declare Death by Neurologic Criteria Threatened."

Three recent lawsuits that address declaration of brain death (BD) garnered significant media attention and threaten to limit physician power to declare BD.

We discuss these cases and their consequences including: the right to refuse an apnea test, accepted medical standards for declaration of BD, and the irreversibility of BD.

These cases warrant discussion because they threaten to: limit physicians’ power to determine death; incite families to seek injunctions to continue organ support after BD; and force hospitals to dispense valuable resources to dead patients in lieu of patients with reparable illnesses or injuries.

Physicians, philosophers, religious officials, ethicists, and lawyers must work together to address these issues and educate both the public and medical community about BD.

January 12, 2017

Fetal tissue research furor continues

At the end of 2016, the Select Investigative Panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee published its report—all 485 pages—of its investigation into procurement of tissue from aborted fetuses for research.  The investigation had been prompted by the 2015 undercover videos from David Daleiden and his “Center for Medical Progress,” which was adduced to support charges that Planned Parenthood clinics, in particular, had violated... // Read More »