Euthanasia survey hints at support from doctors, nurses and division

SMH, 24 June 2017
Author: James Robertson
“Most NSW doctors and nurses support a controversial medical euthanasia bill headed for Parliament, according to research that could prompt new debate about the medical fraternity’s willingness to accept changes to assisted suicide laws.”
Find article here.

New Frontiers in End-of-Life Ethics (and Policy): Scope, Advance Directives and Conscientious Objection

Bioethics, 31(6) 2017, 422-423
Author: Udo Schuklenk
“However, it would be premature to conclude that all arguments are settled now, if not in politics and law, and that, certainly in ethics, nothing much original could be added to the existing corpus of critical analysis and argument. In fact jurisdictions considering the decriminalization of medical aid in dying are grappling today with three issues that deserve further analysis.”
Find article here.

The Disputed Death of an 8-Year-Old Whose Organs Were Donated

The Atlantic, 16 June 2017
Author: Sarah Zhang
“This unusual case casts light on a once-controversial but increasingly common protocol called “organ donation after circulatory death,” which occurs after the heart has stopped. (Also sometimes called “donation after cardiac death,” or DCD.) In contrast, the vast majority of organs in the U.S. come from donors who are brain dead.”
Find article here.

Ethics involved in life support decisions remain matter of debate

The Globe and Mail, 15 June 2017
Author: Wency Leung
“When doctors aren’t able to have end-of-life discussions with patients themselves, they often have to approach the delicate subject with the patient’s caregiver or family members. From a doctor’s perspective, these discussions typically involve presenting the evidence of what is known about the situation, what the likely outcomes may be, given that evidence, and most importantly, understanding the patient – what their values are, their expectations and ideology. To make a choice about whether to proceed with aggressive treatment, families should be informed about what those treatments are, the possible risks and benefits and what the ultimate outcomes are.”
Find article here.

Coroner calls for GPs to be allowed to order urgent CT scans after patient death

BMJ 2017; 357: j2815
Author: Clare Dyer
“A coroner has demanded a change in rules that stop NHS GPs in some areas ordering urgent computerised tomography (CT) scans, after the death of a 37 year old woman from a brain tumour. Lisa Hashmi, area coroner for Manchester North, gave the warning in a report sent to Bury clinical commissioning group on the death of Elaine Talbot, whose brain tumour was missed by her GP and hospital doctors.”
Find article here.

Comments on the Lambert case: the rulings of the French Conseil d’Etat and the European Court of Human Rights

Med Health Care and Philos (2017) 20:187
Author: Denard Veshi
“This study examines the decisions of the French Conseil d’Etat (Supreme Administrative Court) and the European Court of Human Rights in the Lambert case concerning the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments. After presenting the facts of this case, the main legal question will be analyzed from an ethical and medical standpoint. The decisions of the Conseil d’Etat and then of the European Court of Human Rights are studied from a comparative legal perspective. This commentary focuses on the autonomous will of an unconscious patient and on the judicial interpretation of the right to life as recognized in article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, it medically classifies artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) as a ‘treatment’ which has ethical and legal implications.”
Find article here.

Many older people in care die prematurely, and not from natural causes

The Conversation, 29 May 2017
Author: Joseph Ibrah
“Investigations into deaths of individual residents by the Coroners Court and the recent inquiry into Oakden care facility in South Australia show vulnerable older people in care have been subjected to undue suffering and harm. The Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has also commissioned an independent review into aged care processes.”
Find article here.

Informed consent for the diagnosis of brain death: a conceptual argument

Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2016 11:8
Author: Osamu Muramoto
“This essay provides an ethical and conceptual argument for the use of informed consent prior to the diagnosis of brain death. It is meant to enable the family to make critical end-of-life decisions, particularly withdrawal of life support system and organ donation, before brain death is diagnosed, as opposed to the current practice of making such decisions after the diagnosis of death. The recent tragic case of a 13-year-old brain-dead patient in California who was maintained on a ventilator for over 2 years illustrates how such a consent would have made a crucial difference.”
Find article here.