Pre-conference Workshops

The State of Assisted Suicide in the States

Date & Time
Wednesday, June 26, 2024 | 8:30am - 3:30pm
This pre-conference workshop is a day-long examination of ways in which the practice of assisted suicide is being engaged in the various states. As of this writing, assisted suicide is legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and legislation seeking to legalize or expand assisted suicide is active in as many as 25 states. This pre-conference workshop will cover the origins and history of assisted suicide in the United States and do a deep dive into current, pending, and proposed legislation across the United States. The workshop is an ideal complement to the pre-conference workshop offered on Thursday, June 27, which will cover the overtreatment of the frail elderly. Schedule 8:30 – 9:45 Preliminary Matters: How Did We Get Here? The history of assisted suicide both nationally and internationally. 9:45 – 10:00 Break 10:00 – 11:30 Active Legislation Part I Legislation active in the states in 2024 Part I 11:30 – 12:30 Lunch 12:30 – 2:00 Active Legislation Part II Legislation active in the states in 2024 Part II 2:00 – 2:15 Break 2:15 – 3:30 Concluding Matters: Where Do We Go from Here? How can these initiatives be resisted? Is there any hope they will be reversed or contracted? Is this simply the way of the world?

Overtreatment and the Frail Elderly: Case Studies and Ethical Analysis

This workshop will look at the ethical issues and broader sociological factors that inform treatment decisions for the frail elderly, including our culture’s propensity to “overtreat” frail older persons toward the end of life, often with high-tech and aggressive and burdensome medical interventions that in some cases are more harmful than helpful. We will look at case studies taken from clinical practice and discuss how best to care for the patient and his or her family in the particular situation. Expert panelists will lead the workshop attendees on discussions of the cultural, legal, religious, clinical, and healthcare context informs treatment decisions. This will include both group discussion and role-playing. Finally, we will discuss the implications of how we treat the frail elderly, how including how overly medicalized burdensome treatment is one of the motivations behind requests for euthanasia in the Netherlands, and how we better care for frail older people.