Harvard Medical School

Physician-Assisted Suicide or Physician-Aid in Dying?

February 2, 2018 at 6:00pm - 8:00pm / TMEC Amphitheater (260 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115)

A Discussion on Religion and Ethics at the End of Life

Harvard Medical School

In 2018, Massachusetts will rehear the Death with Dignity bill. In 2012 this bill was narrowly defeated (51 to 49%) and will now return to the ballot. In Dec. 2017, The Massachusetts Medical Society recently changed their position to become neutral on the bill after having opposed it for many years. The bill would allow terminally ill patients the ability to end their lives with assistance from a physician. Proponents argue that this bill would allow patients in severe pain to have control over their deaths and die on their own terms with dignity. Opponents of the bill argue that modern anesthetics can manage the pain of any of the patients and allowing a patient to end their own lives is fundamentally against the physician’s duty to never knowingly harm their patients. Proponents believe the bill is an act of mercy to a severely suffering patient while opponents believe the bill will undermine trust between the physician and patient and give patients options that will put them under pressure to die for the sake of monetary reasons or in episodes of depression. What are the ethics underlying this bill? How might one’s worldview affect their beliefs about this issue? In this Veritas Forum, Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University, and Dr. Lachlan Forrow, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Faculty Associate at the Safra Center for Ethics, will discuss the reasons why one might support or oppose physician assisted suicide. Dr. Alexandra Cist, who works in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, will moderate the conversation, which comes at a crucial time for Massachusetts. See here for the Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1940821532835482/



Daniel Sulmasy

Senior Research Scholar, Andre Hellegers Professor of Biomedical Ethics

Georgetown University

Lachlan Forrow

Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Ethics and Palliative Care Programs

Harvard Medical School, Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Alexandra Cist

Faculty, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School