Autonomy in April

April is National Donate Life Month.  The Presidential Proclamation reminds us all that this is a time during which, “we honor donors who provide others with a second chance for a healthy life” and we “demonstrate our commitment to one another in the most difficult of circumstances”. If you’re just discovering this blog, take some … Continue reading

5 Movie Picks with a Bioethics Theme

A few new movies have appeared in theaters recently that can be added to what is becoming a growing cannon of films that tackle the many facets and complexities surrounding bioethical issues. Tonight, I saw one of them. This inspired me to compose a list of recent films (plus a classic or two) that help us better understand the medical humanities and perhaps, ourselves as they depict individuals answering the very personal questions of patient autonomy, “What do I want to happen to me, to my body for the sake of my health or medical care?”

The Soloist

In this clip from the movie, Steve Lopez seeks to help his friend, Nathaniel Ayers without understanding Ayers values or definition of quality of life. [clearspring_widget title=”The Soloist movie video player” wid=”48e52f0de25da89a” pid=”4a136df53b0e2396″ width=”380″ height=”305″ domain=””]

The Only Things Certain Are Death And Taxes

Absolutely no one likes to think about sustaining a life-threatening injury or catostrophic illness. Yet, as I wrote in an earlier post, trauma happens. There’s also, of course Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom, “Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.” And such was the inspiration for Nathan Kottkamp, a health lawyer who founded National Health Care Decision Day two years ago. It will be observed this Thursday, April 16 (after tax day) and is intended to teach Americans the benefits of creating advance directives as well as encourage health care providers to recommend them to their patients. Communication among family members and between doctors and patients has to improve.

The Story of a Kidney

The television drama ER has been delivering excellent stories around death and dying as well as the misadventures of the walking wounded for fifteen years now. After a long break, I have returned to faithfully follow it’s final season and it has not disappointed. The plot and multiple story lines of ER are quite complex and unfold over weeks so serendipity was probably the cause for last night’s episode to deal with the topic of kidney disease and kidney transplants on World Kidney Day. As I discussed in Wednesday’s post, the purpose of World Kidney Day is to increase awareness. The aim is to prevent chronic kidney disease by encouraging people to make choices that support healthy kidneys and get appropriate screening test for kidney function when necessary.

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    The Herald-Sun presented a large feature of III Gifts poems and photographs to kick off National Donate Life Month. It included the articles, A Living Tribute and Love of Arts... providing a comprehensive and personal perspective of organ donation. Cliff Bellamy, Book & Entertainment Editor described the book as "very insightful." Click through the links and be sure to check them out.