Landmark Conference to Re-Envision the Dying Experience

HENDERSON, Nev., Jan. 5, 2018 — Two of the most creative modern thinkers in health care and the death-positive movement will headline “Dying in the Americas 2018,” a conference scheduled for March 21-25, 2018, at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, Nevada and sponsored by the national death with dignity organization, Final Exit Network. Dr. Zubin Damania, also known as ZDoggMD, is a Stanford-trained internist whose 200-plus YouTube videos and music parodies have been viewed more than 20 million times. Caitlin Doughty is the founder of the modern death-positive movement whose most recent book is “From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death.”

They will be joined by Dr. Stefanie Green, one of Canada's leading physicians in the Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) movement, who will discuss her career change from OB-GYN to MAiD. Dr. Green will describe her profound experience in helping terminally ill and suffering patients. Also from Canada, Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada and a lifelong human rights activist, who will talk about her untiring work toward making death with dignity a reality in Canada; and Dr. James Downar, a critical care and palliative care physician at the University Health Network in Toronto and bioethicist who has advocated for safeguards for both the patient and physician.

Author of “Dealing with Doctors, Denial and Death,” oncologist Aroop Mangalik, M.D., a former chair of the Biomedical Ethics Committee at UNM and currently an Associate of the UNM School of Medicine Institute for Ethics, will talk about the particular difficulties that arise between doctors and patients which have become impediments to the best quality of end of life care.

The hemisphere-wide conference will bring together Canadian and Latin American professionals, doctors, health care advocates, lawyers and academics to discuss some of the most compelling cases from their respective countries. Lawyers on the forefront of legal cases in the U.S. and Canada will explain how major changes have come about in Canadian laws while U.S. laws languish. Bioethicists, religious leaders and physicians will discuss case studies and the difficulties involved in making life-ending decisions at the suffering patient's request. Dr. Taimie Bryant, J.D., of UCLA School of Law will examine the differences in U.S. organizations providing end of life options, and Robert Rivas, J.D., a legal pioneer in the field, will talk about legal impediments throughout the U.S. and the future of U.S. laws targeting medical assistance in dying.

The main focus of the conference will be the current status of end of life issues, as well as the potential for the future: Will artificial intelligence (AI) have a place in end-of-life conversations? Will AI make it easier for doctors and patients to face difficult issues surrounding choices in the final stages of life? How do death and dying issues become part of a continuum of care for physicians of the future? With resistance from the medical community, will these issues eventually become topics for others to deal with outside of the medical community, and what will that future look like?

This landmark conference will culminate with action workshops designed to bring together information and ideas produced during the conference. The goal is to re-envision dying in the future. Benefactors of Final Exit Network (FEN) are supporting the conference. FEN is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 with 3,000 members nationwide. For more information, visit finalexitnetwork.org.

Bioethicists, doctors, health care professionals, religious leaders and lay individuals who are interested in end-of-life and death with dignity issues are invited to attend. For more information, visit the conference website at www.finalexitnetwork.org/Dying-in-the-Americas-2018.html. Space reservations should be made as soon as possible. Space is limited, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis and may close before the February 15 registration deadline due to space considerations. For more information, contact conference planner Julia Hanway at [email protected] or (866) 654-9156.

SOURCE Final Exit Network

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About the Author: Erin Phan

Erin Phan Is a researcher and law student at York University (TORONTO). She has worked as the Director of the Graduate Lawyering Program. She worked for American law firms in Moscow, Russia for three years. Hegraduated from Columbia Law School, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and Harvard College. She research interest is in human rights and health law, with a particular focus on the law and policy of vaccination.
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