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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Over 530 (as of 9/17) users of e-cigarettes have been stricken with a vaping-related lung illness and 8 people have died from this new affliction.  The reports span 38 states and the U.S. Virgin Isles. The FDA and CDC have begun investigations into these lung illnesses resulting in a September 10 letter to Juul—a large manufacturer of e-cigarettes and cartridges—that they violated federal law by stating their product is “safer” than other forms of tobacco.Walmart announced that they will cease selling vapers. And in July 2019, a judge ruled in a  legal case brought by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and other medical groups that vaping companies have until May 2020 to have their products approved by the FDA.…

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Marcos Ariel Hourmann is the first and only doctor to be convicted for practicing euthanasia in Spain. “I Will Celebrate My Death” is a documentary theater production (tickets here) with Hourmann himself about why (in 2005) he have a lethal injection to an 82-year-old woman named Carmen.

Hourmann is staging his own trial — on a stage. Eight audience members sit on the spartan stage as the doctor recounts his story. The performance ends with the “jury members” writing down their verdict on a piece of paper. Responses have been overwhelmingly “not guilty,” but there have been a handful of “guilty” verdicts.


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Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing is a new collection of essays, edited by Erik Parens and Josephine Johnson.  In the introduction, the editors explain they are concerned with “nonphysical harms” of human gene editing.  That is, these harms would not affect bodily systems, but harm “people’s psyches…[their] experiences of being persons,” and …

Continue reading "“Velvet Eugenics”"

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09/19/2019 Lies
Written by Stephen Rainey.   I’ve been thinking, lately, about lying. Not doing it, just puzzling over what it means. We all know lying can be morally wrong. But sometimes it can also be a kindness, when the truth might serve no good. Within the constraints of a job, lying might be a professional obligation, […]

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We have had a long debate in the United States about who can marry whom. But can you marry the dead? In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia). In 2015, the court ruled that the fundam...

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We have had a long debate in the United States about who can marry whom. But can you marry the dead? In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia). In 2015, the court ruled that the fundam...

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by John Lantos, MD

Dr. William L. Meadow, MD, PhD, died at the age of 70 on Saturday, September 14, after battling leukemia for four years.  Meadow was a pioneer in the development of neonatal bioethics. We worked closely on a series of articles and a book about the complex set of medical and personal calculations that guide decision making for the parents, physicians and nurses who care for critically ill infants.  The tough decisions generally occur when infants are born at the borderline of viability or those with significant congenital problems or infections.

Bill Meadows and John Lantos. Photo courtesy of John Lantos.

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There are so many new updates to The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Wolters Kluwer 2020). Here are some of them:

  • Idaho’s first reported judicial decision on end-of-life decision making, finding the Idaho advance directive statute constitutional as it applies to pregnant women.
  • An appellate ruling in California upholding most of the interdisciplinary team approach to medical decision making for unbefriended patients in long-term care facilities. 
  • Promulgation of federal regulations that expand and protect statutory conscience rights in health care, including with respect to advance directives and medical aid in dying.
  • Enactment of the Maine Death with Dignity Act and the New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, bringing the number of U.S. MAID jurisdictions to ten.
  • Expansion of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to waive the 15-day waiting period for patients expected to die sooner than that. 
  • Enhanced criminal penalties for assisted suicide in two states.
  • The first enactment of a dementia-specific power of attorney for health care decisions that includes an end-of-life decisions addendum statement of desires permitting refusal of “food and water” by mouth. 
  • Expanded access to and/or rights under advance directives in five states.
  • Enactment of the another Supported Decision Making Act, as an alternative to guardianship and surrogate decisionmaking.
  • Three additional Simon’s Laws requiring notification and/or consent before writing a pediatric DNR order.
  • New POLST statutes in two states, and an expanded POLST statute in another.
  • Additional safeguards for advance directives and surrogates in two states.
  • Expanded surrogate lists and powers in four states.
  • New or expanded advance directive registry statutes in four states.
  • Statutory mandates to inform and educate appropriate patients about palliative care in two states.
  • Establishment of palliative care and hospice advisory councils and task forces in five more states.

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There are so many new updates to The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking (Wolters Kluwer 2020). Here are some of them:

  • Idaho’s first reported judicial decision on end-of-life decision making, finding the Idaho advance directive statute constitutional as it applies to pregnant women.
  • An appellate ruling in California upholding most of the interdisciplinary team approach to medical decision making for unbefriended patients in long-term care facilities. 
  • Promulgation of federal regulations that expand and protect statutory conscience rights in health care, including with respect to advance directives and medical aid in dying.
  • Enactment of the Maine Death with Dignity Act and the New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, bringing the number of U.S. MAID jurisdictions to ten.
  • Expansion of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to waive the 15-day waiting period for patients expected to die sooner than that. 
  • Enhanced criminal penalties for assisted suicide in two states.
  • The first enactment of a dementia-specific power of attorney for health care decisions that includes an end-of-life decisions addendum statement of desires permitting refusal of “food and water” by mouth. 
  • Expanded access to and/or rights under advance directives in five states.
  • Enactment of the another Supported Decision Making Act, as an alternative to guardianship and surrogate decisionmaking.
  • Three additional Simon’s Laws requiring notification and/or consent before writing a pediatric DNR order.
  • New POLST statutes in two states, and an expanded POLST statute in another.
  • Additional safeguards for advance directives and surrogates in two states.
  • Expanded surrogate lists and powers in four states.
  • New or expanded advance directive registry statutes in four states.
  • Statutory mandates to inform and educate appropriate patients about palliative care in two states.
  • Establishment of palliative care and hospice advisory councils and task forces in five more states.

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The field of behavioral economics has brought attention to promising ways of motivating people to make better life choices. Many behavioral economic-inspired interventions are relatively hands off — they nudge people to make wiser decisions without in any way restricting their … Continue reading

The post Behavioral Economic Interventions – It’s Not a Choice Between Nudges and Shoves appeared first on PeterUbel.com.

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