On Thur 11/13 we held our open forum on three targeted issues: E. bola and its effect on medical missions, physician assisted suicide, and reproductive rights.
We first prefaced the meeting by encouraging attendees to focus on listening and understanding, to be respectful of the different worldviews and perspectives we all have, and to begin thinking about how to innovate medicine . Then three members led three separate discussions on each of the three topics, followed by a summary at the end. Unfortunately we didn’t get to talk about innovative solutions, but we did have very good discussions from all three groups. I was so proud of everyone in attendance for tackling difficult issues together and sharing different viewpoints respectfully!
I was in the group discussing physician assisted suicide and we questioned what “do no harm” actually entails. As physicians, we pledge to “do no harm,” which means putting the patient’s life first. But what if “do no harm” also refers to reducing unnecessary emotional, physical, or spiritual pain? When is it appropriate to use PAS? We also discussed the case of Brittany Maynard, a woman who chose to end her life at age 29 after being diagnosed with malignant brain cancer. She chose to end her life because the treatments would leave her with very poor quality of life, and the cancer had the possibility of leaving her morphine resistant if she didn’t treat. What do you think of her decision? What would you do if you were her? Or her doctor?