KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Issues related to the care of persons who are near death and may be suffering will be the topic of a forum hosted by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The forum, which will be offered at three locations during November, is sponsored by the college’s Office of Academic Outreach and the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics.
Dr. Lynn Champion said the forum is free, although registration is required and participants will be asked to read beforehand the booklet “At Death’s Door: What Are the Choices?”
The forum schedule and locations (pick the most convenient date and place):
— 7 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 2, 238 University Center, UT-Knoxville. Dr. Hilde Nelson, moderator.
— 7 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 9, Oak Ridge Public Library, Oak Ridge Turnpike, in Oak Ridge. Dr. James L. Nelson, moderator.
— 7 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 12, William T. Snyder Classroom, Knoxville Center mall (enter from the outside at the orange awning between Ruby Tuesday’s and Dillard’s). Dr. Glenn Graber, moderator.
To register for either Knoxville forum and to obtain a copy of the reading material, call Academic Outreach at UT-Knoxville, 423-974-4676. For the Oak Ridge forum, registration and reading materials are available at the library during regular hours.
All moderators are UT-Knoxville faculty with expertise in leading and facilitating discussion of controversial issues, Champion said.
“The college is sponsoring the forums as part of its responsibility and mission to educate the public about policy issues,” Champion said. “An educated public makes more informed decisions about policy matters.”
The forum is planned around the following public policy perspectives summarized from “At Death’s Door”:
1) Society must protect life, but also must protect the right to a humane death. Patients near death and in unbearable pain should be able to receive a physician’s assistance in ending their lives. The process needs regulation.
2) The healthcare system routinely fails to honor patients’ wishes about treatment and fails to relieve their pain and depression. Giving patients more control over treatment and relieving their symptoms is a better solution than supervising suicides.
3) Life is invaluable and should be inviolable. Society and the medical community must strengthen the commitment to preserving life. Assisted suicide is a crime.
“At Death’s Door” is publication prepared by Public Agenda, a non-profit organization devoted to research and education on public policy issues, and the Kettering Foundation.