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McCollough and Philosophy Lecture with Dr. Holly Kantin

October 3, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Join us for a lecture titled, “Physician-Assisted Dying and the Limits of Ethical Medical Practice” with Dr. Holly Kantin. October 23rd, 3:00-4:30, Lloyd 133


Physician-assisted dying (PAD) is illegal in many countries and in most that allow it, eligibility is limited to the terminally ill—i.e., to those with a prognosis of six or fewer months left to live. However, in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada, PAD laws are far more liberal. In all three countries, a patient may be eligible for PAD on the basis that their suffering due to an incurable medical condition is unbearable and available treatment options are incapable of providing adequate relief. There is no requirement that the patient’s condition be terminal, or even that their death from the medical condition be foreseeable. Beginning in March 2024, Canada will join Belgium and the Netherlands in extending eligibility to patients whose sole cause of suffering is a mental disorder. Under these laws, non-terminal patients suffering from a wide range of conditions—e.g., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, paraplegia, advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and major depressive disorder—are potentially eligible for PAD.

The ethics of PAD raises important questions about the goals of medicine, the role of physicians, and the concept of medical futility. Does helping a patient die ever further any of the goals of medicine? When, if ever, is it consistent with the professional integrity of physicians? When are physicians justified in judging that a patient’s condition is incurable?


October 3, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm