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New ‘Incentives’ to Choose Death

February 1, 2017

As we have commented in this blog recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) is thinking of reversing its opposition to physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Canada and five U.S. states have made this practice legal, and “aid in dying” is now a part of everyday medical discussions. Here are a few more... View Article

The New Push for Assisted Suicide

December 6, 2016

  There is a growing movement within the American Medical Association (AMA) to legalize “aid in dying,” otherwise known as physician-assisted suicide. The current ethics statement of the AMA, with roots going back thousands of years, states the following: It is the policy of the AMA that: 1.Physician assisted suicide... View Article

New Challenges to Brain Death

February 10, 2016

Since 1969, the Harvard Criteria on Brain Death have provided guidelines for declaring a patient dead, even if the heart is still beating. This has allowed for a significant expansion of organ transplants. Donation occurs while the organ is still viable, resulting in better outcomes for recipients. As a legal,... View Article

Looking for Hope: Suicide Prevention

August 18, 2015

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Dr. Heather Kuruvilla Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, and is the most common cause of death after cancer and heart disease. The most recent statistics for suicide compiled by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention show a yearly... View Article

Balancing Faith and Science at the End of Life

July 7, 2015

(by guest blogger Sam Franklin) My mother, luckily, died in the presence of six of her closest relatives — all of whom were born-again believers. Other patients aren’t as lucky. Consider “Ms. Ellen,” who spent her last days surrounded only by medical professionals — none of whom affirmed her Christian... View Article

Remembering Spring in the Midst of Winter

March 9, 2015

Photo Courtesy  of Wikimedia Commons by Dr. Heather Kuruvilla Just days ago, much of the nation was facing wind chill advisories and subzero temperatures.  But walking around my neighborhood yesterday, I heard the sounds of rushing water as the snow melted, the song of birds, and the honking of geese.  The... View Article

Asking the wrong question?

February 2, 2015

  (by guest blogger: Erica Graham) How do we, as a society, decide when someone is mature enough to make their own healthcare decisions?  Recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that 17 year old Cassandra C. must undergo chemotherapy to treat her Hodgkin’s lymphoma, even though she does not wish... View Article

Ezekiel Emanuel is Wrong

October 6, 2014

Physician-ethicist Ezekiel Emanuel seems to love being at the center of controversy. One of the architects of Affordable Care Act, he is director of Clinical Bioethics at the NIH and chairs the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at U Penn. He has frequently (and often unfairly) been criticized... View Article

Death Panels Redux?

September 30, 2014

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine is entitled: Dying in America. Among other things, it documents how poorly Americans understand their options at the end of life. The IoM recommends that doctors get paid for having end-of-life discussions with their patients. This idea was unpopular back in 2009,... View Article

Physicians and Lethal Injection

June 24, 2014

Our justice system is embroiled in controversy in recent years, over a procedure that a majority of Americans support: the death penalty. Older methods, including firing squad, electric chair, or gas chamber, have been supplanted by lethal injection. This is thought to be more humane, and therefore less in conflict... View Article