Living with Death: Perspectives on End-of-Life Care (Screening & discussion, Edinburgh University, 12 October 2012)

The University of Edinburgh invites you to the first of this semester’s Edinburgh University Medical Humanities Research Network (EUMHRN) events.

The event is entitled ‘Living with Death: Perspectives on End-of-Life Care’ and consists of the screening of two recent documentary films, Let Our Dad Die and A Good Death, responses from three prominent researchers in different, inter-related fields associated with the Medical Humanities, concluding with an audience discussion. Both films interrogate the nature of living with dying and the decisions and difficulties of terminal illness in different ways. This event aims to feed into and out of current and ongoing legal and medical debates regarding the quality of life in end-of-life care.

Let Our Dad Die is a C4 documentary portrait of Tony Nicklinson, a man who suffered a catastrophic stroke seven years ago, which he survived but which left him in a ‘locked-in state’, fully conscious but completely paralysed save for the voluntary movement of his eyes. This remains his only channel of communication via a computer interface. This way of life is an unbearable suffering for Mr. Nicklinson, who wants to end it, however, due to his profound disability, he is unable to take his own life, and has recently sought a High Court ruling to allow a doctor to legally end his life without prosecution.

A Good Death introduces and discusses Advanced Care Planning, a new end-of-life care programme at Dunedin Hospital, New Zealand for patients with severe chronic lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD). The film follows the struggles of Mr. Martin Cavanagh, a patient dying with COPD, and his family in the last months of his life. The documentary highlights the challenges posed by disease that is chronic and terminal, but unpredictable, and emphasises the benefits that non-cancer patients (until recently relatively neglected from a palliative care perspective) can receive from early the discussion and planning of end-of-life and hospice care.

Invited Speakers:

Professor Gillian Howie is Head of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Institute for Feminist Theory and Research, as well as co-ordinator of the AHRC-funded network New Thinking on Living with Dying.

Professor Graeme Laurie is professor of Medical Jurisprudence and Director of Research at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Law. Prof. Laurie has specific expertise in the legal aspects of medicine, science and technology, issues he is actively engaged in through professional bodies and governing boards including the NHS Central Register Governance Board, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the British Medical Association’s Ethics Committee.

Dr Tom Middlemiss is a physician training to specialise in palliative care. He has an MD studying the experiences of advanced cancer patients who take part in symptom control clinical trials. He has also worked in New Zealand and Kerala, India in palliative care.

Date: Friday 12th October 2012
Venue: Teviot Lecture Theatre, Old Medical School, University of Edinburgh

5 – 6 pm 1 hour films
6 – 7 pm Response and Discussion
7 – 8 pm Wine Reception

For more information, please email Claire McKechnie.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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