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Author Archive: Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

About Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, a multi-professional committee has released recommendations pertaining to the use of telemedicine to evaluate patients’ requests to consider medical aid in dying.

This is one of the first projects of the newly formed American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying.  



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The Science of Social Distancing When: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 | 3:00 to 4:30 pm ET (2 pm central, 1 pm mountain, noon pacific) Where: Webinar Register here: http://www.covid19conversations.org/ Agenda 3:00 pm | Welcome  Vict...

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Some leading organizations that provide training, education, and resources on advance care planning are offering free tools. Respecting Choices materials are here. National POLST materials are here. Individuals and their families who are at highest ri...

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I joined 1400 bioethics colleagues in this letter to Congress and the White House, imploring the U.S. government to immediately use its federal power and funds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as a matter of moral imperative.  The letter calls...

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The Association of Bioethics Program Directors has been sharing various implemented or “under development” triage policies in anticipation of expected shortages of ventilators and other critical care equipment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Idaho has enacted the nation's fifth Simon's Law. Joining Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota; the new law constrains when clinicians may write orders withholding life-sustaining treatment from a minor. The Idaho statute is comparatively stron...

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Idaho has enacted the nation's fifth Simon's Law. Joining Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota; the new law constrains when clinicians may write orders withholding life-sustaining treatment from a minor. The Idaho statute is comparatively stron...

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Aging with Dignity has spent nearly 25 years helping families have discussions about what their loved ones would want if faced with a serious or life-threatening illness. Their Five Wishes is America's most popular and easy-to-understand and use advance care planning program.

Because of the national emergency, Aging with Dignity has decided to take the unprecedented step of making the Five Wishes document available online to individuals at no cost.  Use it for yourself.  Use it for your parents, spouse, siblings, adult children, extended family, and friends.  Just use it!

With life coming to a near standstill in America, it’s time to have these important conversations with the people who mean the most to you. To ask them about the kind of medical care they want or don't want in times of serious illness.  If you haven't had those conversations yet, now is the time.

No matter how you are affected, you have a chance now to be prepared in case you or your loved ones face serious illness.  So get a Five Wishes and seek out the people who matter most to you, and start with the following messages: 

•    There's been something on my mind and now is a good time to bring it up
•    You matter to me and I care about you
•    You can count on me to be there for you
•    I want to do the right things for you when you need them the most
•    I don't know your wishes so please tell me them so I can honor them whether I agree with them or not.

Use any one of those statements as an opening to a conversation if the subject turns to the coronavirus or related issues. If that approach doesn't work, go to the Five Wishes conversation tips to get the ball rolling.  


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Aging with Dignity has spent nearly 25 years helping families have discussions about what their loved ones would want if faced with a serious or life-threatening illness. Their Five Wishes is America's most popular and easy-to-understand and use advance care planning program.

Because of the national emergency, Aging with Dignity has decided to take the unprecedented step of making the Five Wishes document available online to individuals at no cost.  Use it for yourself.  Use it for your parents, spouse, siblings, adult children, extended family, and friends.  Just use it!

With life coming to a near standstill in America, it’s time to have these important conversations with the people who mean the most to you. To ask them about the kind of medical care they want or don't want in times of serious illness.  If you haven't had those conversations yet, now is the time.

No matter how you are affected, you have a chance now to be prepared in case you or your loved ones face serious illness.  So get a Five Wishes and seek out the people who matter most to you, and start with the following messages: 

•    There's been something on my mind and now is a good time to bring it up
•    You matter to me and I care about you
•    You can count on me to be there for you
•    I want to do the right things for you when you need them the most
•    I don't know your wishes so please tell me them so I can honor them whether I agree with them or not.

Use any one of those statements as an opening to a conversation if the subject turns to the coronavirus or related issues. If that approach doesn't work, go to the Five Wishes conversation tips to get the ball rolling.  


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How to allocate scarce resources (e.g., ventilators/ICU beds) is a critically important issue to get right. Unfortunately, there are some really problematic approaches to triage that are being floated across the country. For example, some policies cate...

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