Prolonging Life: Legal, Ethical, and Social Dilemmas

Prolonging Life: Legal, Ethical, and Social Dilemmas

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by The Nour Foundation, The New York Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

 

Video of the full event is available on the Nour Foundation website.

This event is part of the Rethinking Mortality series.

The ability of modern medicine to prolong life has raised a variety of difficult legal, ethical, and social issues on which reasonable minds can differ. Among these is the morality of euthanasia in cases of deep coma or irreversible injury, as well as the dead donor rule with respect to organ harvesting and transplants. As science continues to refine and develop lifesaving technologies, questions remain as to how much medical effort and financial resources should be expended to prolong the lives of patients suspended between life and death. At what point should death be considered irreversible? What criteria should be used to determine when to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging treatments in cases of severe brain damage and terminal illness? In exploring these complex dilemmas, pediatrician Sam Shemie, hospice medical director Christopher Comfort, ethicist Mildred Solomon, and attorney Barbara Coombs Lee will examine the underlying assumptions and considerations that ultimately shape individual and societal decisions surrounding these issues.

*Reception to follow.

Featuring

Christopher Comfort, MD

Medical Director, Calvary Hospital

Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD

President, Compassion & Choices

Sam Shemie, MD

Professor of Pediatrics, McGill University
Medical Director, Extracorporeal Life Support Program, Montreal Children's Hospital
Bertram Loeb Chair, Organ and Tissue Donation, University of Ottawa

Mildred Z. Solomon, EdD

President and CEO, The Hastings Center
Clinical Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

Registration Pricing — Individual Lecture Prices

Member (including students)$5
Nonmember$15
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$7


Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences
  • Nour Foundation
  • To the Best of Our Knowledge

Media Sponsor

 


This event is part of The Rethinking Mortality Series

Moderated by Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio's To the Best of Our Knowledge, this four-part lecture series brings together leading experts from various fields to discuss how the latest research is challenging our understanding of the very nature of mortality.

To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.

Reversing Death: The Miracle of Modern Medicine, October 9, 2013
Prolonging Life: Legal, Ethical, and Social Dilemmas, November 12, 2013
Experiencing Death: An Insider's Perspective, December 11, 2013
Confronting Mortality: Faith and Meaning across Cultures, February 5, 2014

Speakers

Christopher P. Comfort, MD

Medical Director, Calvary Hospital

Christopher P. Comfort, MD, as Medical Director of Calvary Hospital, develops, coordinates, and facilitates clinical services for palliative and end-of-life care. Dr. Comfort is Board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics and practiced in the New York area for 15 years, prior to joining the Calvary staff in 1999. His research interests include advance directives, spirituality, and palliative wound care.

Dr. Comfort is a member of the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He participates in the teaching programs of Calvary's Palliative Care Institute, providing education to hundreds of medical students, residents, senior fellows, and practicing physicians, many of whom come from abroad to observe Calvary's care. Teaching focuses on comprehensive palliative care, pain management, and palliative wound care.

Dr. Comfort lectures extensively to the medical and legal community about ethical considerations concerning end-of-life care.

Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD

President, Compassion & Choices

Barbara Coombs Lee is President of Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill. She practiced as a nurse and physician assistant for 25 years before beginning a career in law and health policy. Since then she has devoted her professional life to individual choice and empowerment in healthcare. As a private attorney, as counsel to the Oregon State Senate, as a managed-care executive and finally as Chief Petitioner for Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, she has championed initiatives that enable individuals to consider a full range of choices and be full participants in their healthcare decisions.

Sam Shemie, MD

Professor of Pediatrics, McGill University
Medical Director, Extracorporeal Life Support Program, Montreal Children's Hospital
Bertram Loeb Chair, Organ and Tissue Donation, University of Ottawa

Dr. Shemie's area of specialty is organ replacement during critical illness. He is pediatric critical care physician and director of Extracorporeal Life Support program at the Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University. His research interests have included the clinical and policy impact of organ failure support technologies and the development and implementation of national ICU based organ donation strategies. In December 2006, he was appointed as the Bertram Loeb Chair in Organ and Tissue Donation in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa. The mandate of the Loeb chair is to provide research leadership in current and emerging issues related to technology, death, organ donation and transplantation with an emphasis on collaborative interdisciplinary research (ethical, philosophical, religious, cultural, legal, technological and biomedical). In August 2008, he was appointed Medical Director (Donation), Organs and Tissues, for Canadian Blood Services. With CBS, he has been involved with health care system redesign and development of leading practices for organ/tissue donation and transplantation in Canada. His current focus is advancing the science and practice of deceased donation. This includes a multicenter research program investigating circulatory and neurological vital functions before and after death in ICU patients and leading the development of international consensus guidelines on death determination after cessation of neurological or circulatory function (collaboration between Canadian Blood Service and World Health Organization).

Mildred Z. Solomon, EdD

President and CEO, The Hastings Center
Clinical Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School

Mildred Z. Solomon, EdD is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hastings Center, a bioethics institute with global impact, focused on scholarly analysis of ethical issues in medicine, health care, life sciences research and the environment. In addition, she is Clinical Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, where she directs the school's Fellowship in Medical Ethics — a program aimed at building the bioethics capacity of Harvard-affiliated hospitals. In addition to over 100 Fellows from the United States, Dr. Solomon has trained bioethicists from Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Israel, Australia and Iceland. A bioethicist and social science researcher, Dr. Solomon has conducted both normative and empirical research on values questions within a range of public health and health care areas of inquiry. Her scholarship and policy work have focused primarily on palliative medicine, the ethics of end-of-life care for adults and children, organ transplantation, research ethics, professionalism, and the responsible conduct of research.

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge.

Steve Paulson is the executive producer and an interviewer with To the Best of Our Knowledge, the Peabody Award-winning radio program produced at Wisconsin Public Radio and syndicated nationally by Public Radio International. Paulson has written for Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent and other publications. His radio reports have also been broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. His recent book, "Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science," was published by Oxford University Press.

Travel & Lodging

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