Bioethics expert to speak on physician-assisted suicide

David OrentlicherDavid Orentlicher, an expert in bioethics and law, will give a public lecture titled “Physician-Assisted Suicide (To Kill or Not to Kill: Is That the Question?)” Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. in Room 407 of the Benson University Center at Wake Forest University. He will repeat the lecture at 4:15 p.m. the same day on the ground floor of the Sticht Center Auditorium at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The free event is part of Wake Forest’s year-long lecture series “Curing and Caring: The Present State and Future of Bioethics in America.” A reception will follow.

The lecture will focus in part on the paradox surrounding terminally ill patients, says Orentlicher. The patient or their family can refuse treatment and turn off life-saving machines in the name of compassion, to end suffering. Yet, that patient may experience days and weeks of greater pain and suffering without their medication or machines while waiting to die naturally.

Orentlicher says assisted suicide can be justified by the same reasoning as withdrawal from treatment; it is an end to the suffering of the terminally ill. Yet, Oregon is the only state that has provisions for assisted suicide, while all states provide for withdrawal from treatment.

Orentlicher is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor of Law and co-director of the Center for Law and Health at Indiana University School of Law, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

For more information, call 336-758-3589.

Categories: Events, Research, School of Medicine, Speakers