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IU Northwest observes World Bioethics Day Oct. 19 with debate about medical aid in dying

This post originally appeared on http://www.nwitimes.com/.

GARY — In observance of World Bioethics Day on Thursday, Indiana University Northwest invites the campus and community to a debate about the legalization of medical aid in dying.

Moderated by Susan Zinner, professor of public and environmental affairs, the debate is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium, in the Savannah Center.

 Medical aid in dying is a practice in which a terminally ill individual requests medication from a doctor in order to facilitate a peaceful death rather than unbearable suffering. This is different than assisted suicide. In order to receive medical aid in dying, two physicians must confirm the patient’s terminal illness in addition to their mental capability to make decisions.

According to Zinner, who will moderate the discussion, advocates of state laws to legalize medical aid in dying argue that this approach is respectful of patient autonomy because it allows them to choose the manner of their death. Furthermore, some research indicates many terminally ill patients request these medications and choose not to use them prior to their death. Those opposing the legalization of medical aid in dying believe that administration of these medications is virtually the same as murder and that physicians should not be involved in the process.

The participants in the debate will include Dan Lowery, former IU Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs faculty member and recently retired chancellor of Calumet College of St. Joseph, who opposes this approach; and Bev Hmurovic, president of the Indiana Chapter of Compassion and Choices, who supports this approach.

This is IU Northwest’s second year observing World Bioethics Day. For more information, contact Susan Zinner at 219-980-6836 or [email protected].