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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 20, 2021

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

July 21, 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, July 21, 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: 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.

Posted: May 11, 2021

U.S. Organ Donation Needs Better Oversight, but New Rule Will Not Help (The Hastings Center)

This year, CMS passed/promulgated a new final rule establishing, among other things, that death certificate data drawn from a database of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be used to determine the number of eligible donors. While attractive as a “readily and publicly available” resource for estimating donor potential, using death certificate data to measure actual donor potential is dangerously flawed.

Posted: May 11, 2021

‘I Need to Know I Tried’ (The New York Times)

Time-limited trials offer I.C.U. patients and their families a sense of empowerment in the face of low odds.

Posted: May 1, 2021

Weekly Advance Care Planning Information Meetings via Zoom

Taking Steps Brattleboro is offering weekly Advance Care Planning Information Meetings via Zoom every Wednesday at 10am and 6pm. Learn more and sign up.

Posted: April 20, 2021

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.

Posted: April 19, 2021

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.

Posted: March 26, 2021

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.

Posted: March 26, 2021

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.

Posted: March 9, 2021

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.

Posted: March 1, 2021

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.

Posted: January 29, 2021

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.

Posted: January 25, 2021

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?

Posted: November 5, 2019

VEN Ethics Survey Results

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