Monday, September 1, 2014

2014 United States Health Freedom Congress (Minnesota)

Come to Hamline University on September 26 and 27 for the 2014 Health Freedom Congress.

The 2014 United States Health Freedom Congress is the 9th national health freedom gathering hosted by NHFC.  This Congress will bring together over 40 health freedom organizations and their leaders from across the nation and numerous other leaders and general participants. Attendees will join and work together for two days. 

The first day, September 26, Voting Members of the Congress will reconvene the Congress formal circle for a limited time in the morning. This will be followed by a full day of activities with General Participants and Voting Members working closely together to discern ways to strengthen the health freedom movement. The daytime work will be followed by an evening workshop on social media entitled “Health Freedom Going Live.”

The second day, September 27, attendees will resume their work from 9:00am - 2:00pm. At 2:00pm the Health Freedom Congress will convene and participate in wrap-up. The Health Freedom Awards Banquet and Keynote speech by Barbara Loe Fisher will begin at 6:30pm Saturday evening.

California Law on Therapeutic Obstinacy & Non-Beneficial Treatment (Video)

UCLA has posted a video of my February 2014 talk for the UCLA Health Ethics Center:  "California Law on Therapeutic Obstinacy & Non-Beneficial Treatment."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Final Exit Network - 10 Year Anniversary

The Final Exit Network is ten years old this month.

FEN is an all-volunteer organization serving members in all 50 states who:

  • Are suffering from intolerable medical circumstances 
  • Are mentally competent
  • Want to end their lives
  • Meet FEN's official, written criteria

FEN offers guidance and the most current information known for self-deliverance when the member is ready to choose.

Minnesota's New Medical Marijuana Law: Now What?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Religiously Affiliated ICU Patients Receive More Aggressive End-of-Life Care

A study just published in the August 2014 issue of the Journal of Surgical Research finds that religiously affiliated intensive care unit patients receive more aggressive end-of-life care in the ICU. Yet this high-intensity care does not translate into any significant difference in survival.

Study Objectives
Previous studies have already demonstrated that religious patients receive more aggressive end-of-life care. In this study, the Vanderbilt surgeon authors sought to examine the effect of religious affiliation on EOL care in the ICU setting. (The lead author, Myrick Clements Shinall, Jr., earned an M.Div. concurrently with his M.D.) 

Study Itself
The authors looked at  patients admitted to any adult ICU at a tertiary academic center who required at least 2 days of mechanical ventilation and who died within 30 days of admission. This group had 334 patients, with 235 affirming a religious affiliation. The affiliated and non-affiliated patients had similar levels of acuity.

The authors used hospital charges, ventilator days, hospital days, and days until death as proxies for intensity of care among the EOL patients.  Religiously affiliated patients in the EOL group incurred:

  • 23% more hospital charges
  • 25% more ventilator days
  • 23% more hospital days
  • 30% longer time until death  
Despite this, survival did not differ significantly among affiliated and non-affiliated patients.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jahi McMath Still Responding to Verbal Commands

Jahi McMath was declared dead both by multiple neurologists and by a California court in December 2013.  

Yet, just days ago her mother made the following announcement to the crowd at the New Beginnings Community Center's summer gala event at the Long Island Aquarium
 "She has good days and bad days. . . . Some days I ask her to move her left hand, or her right hand and she does...I'm her mom and I know that my daughter is in there."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Providence Institute for Human Caring

Providence Health & Services is establishing the Providence Institute for Human Caring under the leadership of Dr. Ira Byock.  

Based at Providence TrinityCare Hospice in Torrance, Calif., the new institute will support clinicians, patients and families across the five states that Providence serves and others nationwide.

The institute will bring greater attention to the personal side of illness, dying, caregiving and grieving. Its goal is to offer clinicians the resources, training and support they need to have meaningful conversations with patients and families about underlying worries and desires related to a medical condition, so that together they can develop the best approach to care.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Brain Death Is a Flash Point in End-of-Life Law, Ethics and Policy

My latest post over at the American Journal of Bioethics blog is now posted here:  "Brain Death Is a Flash Point in End-of-Life Law, Ethics and Policy."