Advances in medical technology have dramatically shaped the face of death in the contemporary Western world.
Almost everyone will face questions about how to make appropriate use of medical technology for themselves or for their loved ones at the end of life. Should dialysis or ventilator support be discontinued? Is it permissible to accept pain medicine that might make the patient unconscious? Can my loved one be an organ donor?
The Program on Medicine and Religion, in partnership with the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, will host a series of four annual one-day conferences over 2016-2019. The four conference topics of focus are of immense importance to Christians as they face death, but also have given rise to controversy within the Christian community: the most appropriate model of pastoral care, brain death, palliative sedation, and the use of feeding tubes. Each conference will feature renowned speakers with respondents drawn from the University of Chicago Medical and Divinity School communities.
The conferences will be co-convened by Daniel P. Sulmasy, MD, PhD, (University of Chicago) and Farr Curlin, MD, (Duke University), and funded by a generous gift from the McDonald Agape Foundation.
The four conference topics are as follows:
- October 14, 2016: What is the place of sedation in the care at the end of life?
- Fall 2017: Is brain death still a concept that Christians can accept?
- Fall 2018: Under what circumstances can palliative sedation be permitted?
- Fall 2019: Are feeding tubes ever morally obligatory?