You Bring Ethics into Life-and-Death Decisions

A Personal Message from Terry Rosell

Dear CPB Friend:

I am often asked about my work and its impact at the Center for Practical Bioethics.

As an ethicist, I understand ethics as a discipline and practice. It is something one learns and then does.

My work doesn’t just impact health ethics. 

It IS ethics. Ethics is what I do.

I do so primarily in the contexts of health and healthcare.

Recently I was consulted on a sad case involving a young man who had been assaulted and experienced traumatic brain injury. He initially seemed to be recovering, but then took a turn for the worse. Further neurosurgery was deemed of no benefit. He was going to die.

But who would make decisions about withdrawing ventilator support? The patient had emigrated from another country. All efforts to find either family or friends had failed. We call a patient like this “unbefriended” or “unrepresented.”

In my ethics recommendations to the trauma surgeon who consulted me, I suggested that if he were to have friends or representation in his best interests, we were the only candidates. We should treat him as the brother he is. And so we did.

He died of his injuries the following day, with full comfort measures to ensure a peaceful passing. 

Your gift to the Center brings ethics into the life-and-death decisions of patients and families.

As sad as this case is – in times like these – it is not unusual. All too often both dying patients and their morally distressed care providers feel alone in the midst of tragic circumstances. In times like these, the Center is a trusted companion. 

If you share my commitment to ensuring that all people at all stages of life are treated as the brothers and sisters that they are, I ask you to please donate to the Center today






Tarris (Terry) Rosell, DMin, PhD

Rosemary Flanigan Chair

Center for Practical Bioethics

P.S. Please consider becoming a monthly donor. As a member of our Sustainers Council, monthly donors receive our quarterly Sustainers Council Update and provide support we rely on every day!

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