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Posted: May 19, 2022

Sizing Up the Decisions of Older Adults

(New York Times, 2022) A new training tool helps to assess whether some seniors can make informed choices about their own care and well-being. Adult Protective Services agencies in every state receive reports of possible neglect, self-neglect, abuse or exploitation of older people and other vulnerable adults. But agency workers consistently face a bedeviling question: Does the adult in question have the capacity to make a decision about their medical care, living conditions or finances — even if it’s not the decision that the family, doctor or financial adviser thinks should be made?

Posted: May 12, 2022

Comfort or Conflict in End-of-Life Care: A Discussion About What’s Missing With Advance Directives

On May 24 at 6pm the Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) will present a hybrid community education program Comfort or Conflict in End-of-Life Care: A Discussion About What’s Missing With Advance Directives live at the Bennington Performing Arts Center and streamed online at speaksooner.org. The evening will include an exclusive screening of PROGNOSIS- notes on living, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Posted: April 7, 2022

MAID Without Borders? Oregon Drops the Residency Requirement

Oregon, which legalized medical aid-in-dying (MAID) in 1997, has dropped the requirement that had limited MAID access to residents of the state. Under a settlement of a lawsuit filed in federal court by the advocacy group Compassion & Choices, Oregon public health officials will no longer apply or enforce this requirement as part of eligibility criteria for MAID. (Nancy Berlinger for the Hastings Center, April 1, 2022)

Posted: April 5, 2022

Register Now! Clinician Information Sessions for New 2022 DNR/COLST Form

On June 1, 2022, Vermont will be launching an updated version of the DNR/COLST form. Join Cindy Bruzzese, Clinical Ethicist & Executive Director of the Vermont Ethics Network, for a step-by-step tutorial on the new 2022 Vermont DNR/COLST form and a review of best practices for completing medical orders with patients & surrogates.
Open Sessions:
Session 4: Thursday, May 26th, 2022 from 12:00-1:15pm

Posted: March 28, 2022

Opinion: When Faced With Death, People Often Change Their Minds (NYT)

By Daniela J. Lamas

Dr. Lamas, a contributing New York Times Opinion writer, is a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Posted: March 25, 2022

Register Today! The 52nd Meeting of the NH/VT Ethics Committees: The Ethics of Rationing

Presented by Dartmouth Hitchcock and UVM Medical Center. This session will discuss ethical approaches to rationing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including rationing medical treatments for COVID-19 and ethical approaches to the nursing staffing crisis. We will build on lessons learned in that experience to reflect on scarcity and health inequities we face every day. The session will close with an open discussion with
participants.

Posted: March 1, 2022

Hospice Volunteer Training at Brattleboro Area Hospice, every Monday from March 21 to May 9, 5-8PM.

Hospice Care Volunteer Training at Brattleboro Area Hospice. Coming this Spring, every Monday from March 21 to May 9 ~5PM to 8PM. Volunteers provide practical & emotional support to individuals and families at the end of life.

Posted: December 21, 2021

Reckoning with Anti-Black Racism in Bioethics

“The field of bioethics has a moral responsibility to respond to the continued racial and health inequities confronting Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Along with several colleagues, we formed an antiracism task force to interrogate that moral responsibility, assess what bioethics has done so far, explore what bioethics can and should do, and bear witness to the longstanding health and health care injustices, including those exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic…Here, we briefly describe key takeaways from this session, and we encourage readers to listen to the recorded session for more details.”

Posted: October 12, 2021

A COVID Serenity Prayer

We need the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

By Lucy McBride, for The Atlantic

Posted: October 5, 2021

What Warrants Religious Exemption from Covid Vaccine Mandates?

Anecdotally and from news reports, it seems that religion has been undergoing a revival in recent weeks. Faced with mandatory vaccination against Covid-19, students and employees, notoriously including health care workers, have appealed to religion as grounds for exemption.

Posted: September 17, 2021

PODCAST: Covid Ethics Series

Presented by Seton Hall University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences Library. The COVID Ethics Series relies on the idea that challenging ethical issues are best addressed by many folks, from diverse backgrounds, practically reasoning together. Each week Professor Bryan Pilkington is joined by a panel of leading experts from medicine, nursing, and the health sciences, as well as political theorists, economists, ethicists, philosophers and lawyers for a conversation about ethical issues which have arisen or intensified due to the pandemic. The COVID Ethics Series is generously co-sponsored by IHS Student Life and IHS Library.

Posted: September 2, 2021

Presentation Recordings: VEN Fall 2021 Ethics Education Series

The Vermont Ethics Network Fall 2021 Ethics Education Series dives into ethically complex cases and questions to expand your knowledge of bioethics. This series is offered free of charge and recordings of past sessions are now available here.

Posted: September 1, 2021

Should Covid Vaccination Status Be Used to Make Triage Decisions?

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to strain health systems’ capacity to provide adequate care for critically ill patients, should patients’ vaccination status be considered in making triage decisions?

This question sparked debate recently after the leak of an internal memo of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Guideline Task Force, which provides triage guidelines for regional hospitals, that proposed using patients’ Covid-19 vaccination status as a factor to assign intensive care beds. The task force has since clarified that it was not intended as policy but for internal discussion between the task force and physician representatives of the regional hospitals.

Posted: August 26, 2021

EVENT: Advance Care Planning & Advance Directive Information Sessions (via Zoom)

September 1, 2021 10 -11 am and 6-7 pm Brattleboro Area Hospice’s Taking Steps Brattleboro (TSB) program will host two zoom Advance Care Planning (ACP)/Advance Directive Question and Answer Information sessions next Wednesday, September 1, 2021. If you are interested in attending, please contact Don Freeman by email:   or calling 802.257.0775 ext 101 and leave your contact information so you can receive the emailed zoom invitation and/or telephone call-in number.  Be sure to specify which session you plan to attend.

Posted: August 25, 2021

Would It Be Fair to Treat Vaccinated Covid Patients First?

Last week, Texas health care policymakers discussed taking vaccination status into account for Covid triage. It’s a larger conversation ethicists are bracing for.

Posted: July 23, 2021

Should the FDA Have Approved the New Alzheimer’s Drug? Should Patients Take It?

A Hastings Conversations Webinar: The Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval of a new Alzheimer’s drug has created a firestorm of praise and outrage. Dissenters include the FDA’s own advisory committee members, who in November 2020 unanimously recommended against approving the drug, Aduhelm, because it showed no convincing evidence of efficacy, leading three committee members to resign in protest after the approval. Numerous scientists, clinicians, bioethicists, and policymakers have serious concerns about the drug’s efficacy, its side effects, and possible negative social, scientific and financial consequences of its approval. The Alzheimer’s Association hailed it as “a new era in Alzheimer’s treatment and research.”

Posted: July 21, 2021

The Great Leap Backward (The Hastings Center)

The government and many residents of the state of Texas like to brag about their love of personal freedom and individual choice. That is why it is so strange and morally repugnant that the state has turned for guidance on how to manage reproductive decisions to the Chinese Communist Party of the Mao Zedong era. (A Bioethics Forum Essay by Arthur Caplan, PhD)

Posted: July 9, 2021

Quality of Life? Suffering? Covid-19 Intensifies Challenges in Discussing Life-Sustaining Treatment (The Hastings Center)

The Covid-19 pandemic has stretched health care resources to the breaking point, particularly the mechanical and human resources essential to intensive care. Although Covid-19 continues to inflict utter havoc and compound pre-existing poverty, inequality, and disparities in much of the world, in many areas of the United States we find ourselves slowly recovering from a relatively unprecedented resource nadir, cautiously re-approaching a tentative sense of normalcy with respect to health care operations.

Posted: June 14, 2021

Would I Give Aducanumab to My Mother? (The Hastings Center)

Aducanumab has just been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. It is likely that many people who are candidates for the drug will no longer be competent to make their own health care decisions, and will be relying heavily on others to make the decision with them or for them.

Posted: June 9, 2021

What a Bad Day Science Had (The Hastings Center)

June 7, 2021, was a bad day for science. That was the day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved aducanumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, even though a committee of its own selected experts recommended strongly against approval.