The ability of modern medicine to prolong life has raised a variety of difficult legal, ethical, and social issues on which reasonable minds can differ. Among these is the morality of euthanasia in cases of deep coma or irreversible injury, as well as the dead donor rule with respect to organ harvesting and transplants. As science continues to refine and develop lifesaving technologies, questions remain as to how much medical effort and financial resources should be expended to prolong the lives of patients suspended between life and death. At what point should death be considered irreversible? What criteria should be used to determine when to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging treatments in cases of severe brain damage and terminal illness? In exploring these complex dilemmas, pediatrician Sam Shemie, ethicist Mildred Solomon, and attorney Barbara Coombs Lee will examine the underlying assumptions and considerations that ultimately shape individual and societal decisions surrounding these issues.
This event is part of the "Rethinking Mortality" series.