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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

Vaccinated and Still Isolated: The Ethics of Overprotecting Nursing Home Residents (The Hastings Center)

The pandemic is not over, but light is beginning to crest the horizon. Vaccination rates, especially among older adults and their caregivers, are rising. As we begin to relax physical distancing requirements on restaurants and professional sports, it’s time to urgently reconsider the severe restrictions imposed on nursing home residents.

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National Healthcare Decisions Day -- Why me? (Brattleboro Reformer)

An op-ed by Don Freeman of Taking Steps Brattleboro, a program of Brattleboro Area Hospice, reminding readers of the importance of completing an advance directive.

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Virtual Conversations in Justice and Equity in Bioethics: Controversies Around COVID-19 Vaccines (Apr 26)

A robust virtual discussion on April 26 led by a panel of ethicists and health care professionals addressing prioritization of COVID-19 vaccine allocations and other complicated questions regarding equitable access to vaccination during a worldwide pandemic. Hosted by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and The University of Vermont Medical Center. CMEs available.

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Mildred Solomon on Disability Rights and Bioethics (The Hastings Center)

Hastings Center president Mildred Solomon discussed disability rights and bioethics, including COVID-related issues, during an interview on “Included: The Disability Equity Podcast." Listen and find additional related resources.

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Surrogate Decision-Making for Incarcerated Patients: A Pandemic-Inspired Call to Action (The Hastings Center)

As Covid-19 continues to plague the United States, insufficient attention has been paid to the role that incarcerated persons play in the persistence of this pandemic and the work that should be done to limit their infection and suffering.

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Weekly Advance Care Planning Information Meetings via Zoom

Our colleagues at Taking Steps Brattleboro are offering free weekly Advance Care Planning Information Meetings via Zoom every Wednesday at 10am and 6pm.

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Working Around the System: Vaccine Navigators and Vaccine Equity (The Hastings Center)

As states continue to expand access to Covid-19 vaccination to prioritized groups, members of the public are observing system problems firsthand. Vaccine navigators have emerged as a response to complexity.

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Vaccine Hesitancy Is No Excuse for Systemic Racism (The Hastings Center)

As students, professors, and practitioners of medicine, we know that teachable moments are often found outside the classroom walls. We have seen that Black and brown communities are disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. But juxtaposing these disparities with vaccination rates is even more disturbing. Fewer vaccines are going to Black people.

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Ethics Supports Seeking Population Immunity, Not Immunizing Priority Groups (The Hastings Center)

There have been some calls for a more pragmatic approach eschewing micromanaging distribution and instead focusing on speed and access. While there are indeed practical considerations supporting a more logistically streamlined system, we believe there are, more importantly, ethical reasons to prefer an approach that vaccinates more people more rapidly.

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Filing Suit for ‘Wrongful Life’ (The New York Times)

More Americans are writing end-of-life instructions as the pandemic renders such decisions less abstract. But are medical providers listening?

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What Is Death? How the Pandemic is Changing Our Understanding of Mortality (The New York Times)

This year has awakened us to the fact that we die. We’ve always known it to be true in a technical sense, but a pandemic demands that we internalize this understanding.

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Who Should Get the Vaccine Next? Not Just Seniors (The Hill)

There has been widespread agreement that health care workers and residents (and staff) of long-term care facilities should be at the very front of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine, and distribution to them is already underway. Now state and local officials will decide whether to adopt the recommendations of an expert panel on who goes next.

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Hospital Staff Revived a Man’s Stopped Heart — and He Sued (Boston Globe)

A successful ‘wrongful prolongation of life’ lawsuit in Montana, among other things, reflects the extent to which many Americans will go to gain — and enforce — their rights to control their final days.

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Coronavirus Mutation Panic (The Hastings Center)

An article offering insight on the new variant of the coronavirus circulating in England and key considerations that have been left out of the headlines.

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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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