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Vermont Ethics Network

Working to increase awareness of ethical issues, values and choices in health and health care.

Medical Decision-Making

Medical Decision-Making

Taking Steps Vermont

There may come a time when you are unable to speak for yourself. The best way to ensure that your wishes are known and honored is to talk with those closest to you and your health care providers about what matters most.

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Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

Relevant Topics in Bioethics

Medical ethics is a field of study that draws from philosophy, law and medicine. There are four core principles in bioethics that define the ethical obligations that health care providers owe to patients. The application of these principles to individual cases can be helpful in resolving difficult questions that arise in health care.

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Palliative & End-of-Life Care

Palliative & End-of-Life Care

Information for those living with serious illness

Palliative care is specialized care that is directed at managing the symptoms of those who are living with serious or advanced illness. It is appropriate for individuals who are seeking treatment for their disease, as well as for those who have shifted their goals to a more comfort-directed plan of care.

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Latest News & Upcoming Events

Lawsuits of Last Resort: Employees Fight for Safe Workplaces during Covid-19 (The Hastings Center)

In such exigent circumstances it is not surprising that novel legal theories also have been asserted to compel employers to protect employees exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Several recently filed cases have caused some lawyers to ponder a branch of law they have not thought about since law school–public nuisance.

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Health, Racism, and This Moment in Time: a Virtual Discussion (Aug 13)

The Hastings Center will host “Health, Racism, and This Moment in Time,” the first in a Hastings Conversations discussion series, Securing Health in a Troubled Time, on Thursday, August 13 at 11am Eastern.

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The Police Tried to Make Me Medically Examine a Man Against His Will (ZORA)

"Just make him do it!” A voice rang out, followed by the sound of metal grating on metal. I leaned past my computer screen toward the triage area to see a young man in handcuffs chafing at the bony prominences of his reddened wrists. Fading charcoal gray lines of graphic tattoos on his left forearm were almost indecipherable against his dark skin.

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Before We Turn to Digital Contact Tracing for Covid, Remember Surveillance in the Sixties (The Hastings Center)

For three years during the 1960s, I worked for various organizations, all of us trying to end the war in Vietnam. At one point, I was employed by the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, while my boyfriend worked for the Student Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam (affectionately known as “The Mobe”).

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Black Lives in a Pandemic: Implications of Systemic Injustice for End‐of‐Life Care (The Hastings Center Report)

In recent months, Covid‐19 has devastated African American communities across the nation, and a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd. The agents of death may be novel, but the phenomena of long‐standing epidemics of premature black death and of police violence are not.

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Covid-19 Makes Clear that Bioethics Must Confront Health Disparities (The Hastings Center)

With some reluctance, I’ve come to the sad realization the Covid-19 pandemic has been a stress test for bioethics, a field of study that intersects medicine, law, the humanities and the social sciences. As both a physician and medical ethicist, I arrived at this conclusion after spending months at what was once the epicenter of the pandemic: New York City. I was overseeing a 24/7 bioethics consultation service.

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Virtual Kitchen Table Conversations on Advance Care Planning During COVID-19

Free digital events in July and August are designed to help attendees be prepared and take control of their medical decisions in advance of a health crisis. Hosted by Kitchen Table Conversations and Reimagine.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Shows Why We Must—And How We Can—End Racial Injustice in Health (TIME)

It’s long past time to end the disproportionate, unjust and unnatural impact of disease on black Americans and other people of color. Diseases—like COVID-19—do not discriminate. Yet they spread more rapidly among those discriminated against.

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Most People With Coronavirus Won’t Spread It. Why Do a Few Infect Many? (The New York Times)

Growing evidence shows most infected people aren’t spreading the virus. But whether you become a superspreader probably depends more on circumstance than biology.

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Save the Date: Fall Palliative Care Conference (Nov 9)

Please save the date for VEN's Fall Palliative Care Conference on Monday, November 9 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT. Our goal is to host an in-person conference with appropriate social distancing. If that is not advisable or permitted, we are making contingency plans to convert this offering to a virtual event. Additional details and registration available soon.

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“You Can See Your Loved One Now.” Can Visitor Restrictions During Covid Unduly Influence End-of-Life Decisions? (The Hastings Center)

For many of our hospitalized patients in palliative care, the presence of loved ones at the bedside is such a given that we don’t even address it explicitly in advance care planning discussions. So, it comes as no surprise that Covid-19-related visitor restrictions affecting hospitalized patients might impact end-of-life decision-making, potentially in ways that are ethically problematic.

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COVID-19 Underscores Racial Disparity in Advance Directives (The Hastings Center)

Conversations about advance directives are important to ensure dignity in life and in death. In one nationally representative survey, however, older black Americans were half as likely as older whites to have advance directives.

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Questions of Bias in COVID-19 Treatment Add to the Mourning for Black Families (The New York Times)

The coronavirus has left tens of thousands of grief-stricken American families struggling to make sense of the seemingly random terror it inflicts, sickening many but only taking some lives. But for many black families, mourning coronavirus deaths brings an added burden as they wonder whether racial bias may have played a role.

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COVID Tells Us to Have “The Conversation” Now (KevinMD)

In the current pandemic, it’s not something you can put off any longer. Now, more than ever, you need to have multiple conversations. Why? It helps normalize the topic.

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VEN Ethics Survey Results

View the results of our Ethics Survey for Vermont & New Hampshire conducted in the summer of 2019.

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