Thursday, March 26, 2015

Biosecurity in a Globalised World: The Adoption of the Revised International Health Regulations – 10 Years On

Biosecurity in a Globalised World: The Adoption of the Revised International Health Regulations – 10 Years On

In 2015 it will be 10 years since the adoption of the revised International Health Regulations (IHR). To mark this important anniversary, QUT’s Australian Centre for Health Law Research is pleased to invite you to Biosecurity in a Globalised World: The Adoption of the Revised International Health Regulations – 10 Years On.
The conference will be hosted by the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus in Brisbane from 27-28 July 2015.
The conference will provide a forum for scholars and policy makers to discuss and present on the progress achieved through the IHR to date, and the important work yet to be done.
The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Lawrence O. Gostin, Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law, Georgetown University, USA.
Themes to be discussed at the conference include:
  1. Development of IHR core capacities
  2. Regulatory responses
  3. Securitisation of infectious disease outbreaks
  4. Human rights
Papers from all disciplines and areas of expertise are welcome.

For further information please visit

If you have any questions, or require any assistance, please contact us at:

For updates on the conference follow @HealthLawQUT
Official conference hashtag: #IHR2015
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IHR 2015 Conference Organisers

Dissecting the Ethics of Organ Donation - 2nd Annual Islamic Bioethics Workshop

The Initiative on Islam and Medicine’s (II&M) 2nd Annual Islamic Bioethics Workshop, titled “Dissecting the Ethics of Organ Donation,” will be held June 5-7, 2015, at the University of Chicago.

Co-sponsored by the American Islamic College, the 3-day workshop will provide an in-depth conceptual introduction to the field of Islamic bioethics and examine the practical and theological ethics of organ donation in Muslim contexts and from an Islamic perspective. 
A brochure is downloadable here.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Court Orders Hospital to "Treat" Dead Woman - Avila v. ARMC

Following the procedural path set by the Jahi McMath case in 2013, the family of Lisa Avila has obtained a TRO "precluding" Anaheim Regional Medical Center from "removing Lisa Avila from the ventilator or ending any of the current treatment."  

The family is going to get an "independent" exam to confirm the diagnosis of death by neurological criteria.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Medical Futility Lawsuit Proceeds against Yale - Marsala v. Yale New Haven Hospital

In 2008, I reviewed all the medical futility lawsuits that I could find.  I looked at both ex ante cases (for injunctions) and ex post cases (for damages).  With respect to the ex post cases, I concluded that the single most successful theory has been for emotional distress (IIED or NIED).

Consistent with my findings, in late 2013, the Connecticut  Superior Court denied Yale New Haven Hospital's motion to dismiss an intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claim brought by the family of Helen Marsala.  (I blogged about this case almost exactly a year ago, when I spoke at Yale.)

In Marsala v. Yale, the family alleges that clinicians removed Helen's ventilator without consent and over their objections.  The court ruled that a jury could find that "terminating a patient's life support with an awareness of her contrary wishes constitutes unacceptable behavior and would readily be considered extreme and outrageous."

But while the family defeated Yale's motion to dismiss, it could not defeat Yale's motion for summary judgment.  Connecticut law apparently does not support "bystander" IIED claims.  This week, Yale successfully moved for summary judgment' on the IIED claim.  The case is still proceeding on a number of other counts.

California Lawsuit for Not Honoring POLST

The family of Mary Virginia Schuller has just filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against a long term care facility for, among other things, failing to honor her June 2014 POLST.  

Administratively, CMS has already concluded that the facility violated Ms. Schuller's rigths under Medicare/Medicaid Conditions of Participation.  The civil damages claims are for:


AALS Section on Disability Law Call for Papers/Presentations for 2016 Annual Meeting

The AALS Section on Disability Law issued the following call for papers and presentations for the 2016 AALS Annual Meeting to be held in New York, New York, January 6-9, 2016. Selected papers will be published in the Journal of Legal Medicine.

Program title
The Wounded Warrior Comes Home: Exploring the Impact of Disabled Veterans on Disability, Health, and Other Law and Policy.

Program Description
About a century ago, returning war veterans with disabilities had a profound impact on both cultural and legal attitudes toward disability, shifting us from the charitable model to the rehabilitation model. Today’s soldiers often survive injuries that would have been fatal in prior combat engagements, leaving them with even more significant physical impairments. There is also a growing understanding of the scope of mental impairments associated with military service. 

At the same time, disability has shifted from something personal to the individual that she or he must work to overcome, to something largely attributable to choices made by society, and we now recognize equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities is a matter of civil rights. Veterans with disabilities may once again play a significant role in shaping the future of disability rights law. In addition, in an era of changing norms regarding health care, veterans with disabilities may play a significant role in that context. Beyond those topics, veterans with disabilities may affect issues of criminal law, employee benefits law, and tax law, to name a few. 

This panel will explore the contemporary impact of veterans with disabilities on our law, including ways in which law and policy can be more responsive to the needs of these veterans and those with whom they interact, and how their unique status may help inform various normative conversations.

Paper/Presentation Requirements and Submission Instructions
Presentations and papers may address a wide spectrum of issues associated with the program topic, from macro or micro perspectives, and further may focus on historical foundations, present conditions, assessment of past or current corrective measures, and/or the analysis of necessary corrections or changes in law or public policy.
Selected papers will be published in the Journal of Legal Medicine, the legal journal of the American College of Legal Medicine. Papers must not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere. Preference will be given to papers of 25,000 words or fewer.

Abstracts of proposed papers/presentations should be submitted to Cheryl L. Anderson, AALS Disability Law Section Chair, at no later than Monday, August 3, 2015. The officers of the Section on Disability Law will select two abstracts for presentations. Authors will be notified no later than August 24, 2015.

Very Sick Children: Treatment at Any Cost?

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has just published a new framework to help doctors make tough decisions on end of life care for children and young people.

The new framework sets out an ethical and legal framework for when it can be considered no longer in the best interests of the child to give life sustaining treatment.  Specifically, the framework provides three sets of circumstances when limiting treatment can be considered because it is no longer in the child’s best interests to continue:

  • When life is limited in quantity: If treatment is unable or unlikely to prolong life significantly it may not be in the child’s best interests to provide it
  • When life is limited in quality: This includes situations where treatment may be able to prolong life significantly but will not alleviate the burdens associated with illness or treatment itself
  • Informed competent refusal of treatment: An older child with extensive experience of illness may repeatedly and competently consent to the withdrawal or withholding of LST. In these circumstances, and where the child is supported by his or her parents and by the clinical team, there is no ethical obligation to provide LST.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Schiavo 10 Years Later (conference)

Coming up next month in Miami: "Schiavo: 10 Years Later" - at the Florida Bioethics Network and University of Miami 23rd Annual Bioethics Conference on April 17, 2015.

Other sessions address 
  • The Future of Hospital Ethics Committees
  • Ethics, Child Safety and Gender Identity Dysphoria
  • Incapacitated and Alone: Social Workers as Proxies
  • Nursing in the Indian Health Service: Managing Ethical Challenges