Ethical Issues in Terminal Health Care

This series of articles originally appeared in The Senior Reporter in the spring and summer of 1992, which means that MUCH HAS CHANGED. It is now 2019. The articles remain relevant in many respects but should not be treated as sacred texts.

I want to especially thank Larry Fortner, former editor of the Duluth News-Tribune and editor/publisher of The Senior Reporter, for having given me the opportunity to research first-hand and in depth this sensitive and critical issue. With his guidance and suggested contacts, I was able to gain a far deeper understanding of these important issues and their complexity.

I want also to thank all of the local doctors, nurses and professionals here in the Northland who allowed me to probe their souls for this series. It was an immensely rewarding experience.

When I was asked to explore this subject, Mr. Fortner instructed me to take an unbiased, journalistic approach for the first four articles. This approach greatly aided my understanding as I could "hear the heart" in a way one does not through mere reading. In the fifth, I was permitted to express my personal views, but only after coming to an understanding of what I was really addressing.

While working on the series I discovered the power of the wired, online world and initiated several discussion threads on AOL to uncover new angles and anecdotes for my writing. This resulted in my being invited to submit to Truth Seeker magazine an article which distilled the essence of nearly two years of thinking on the matter of physician assisted suicide.

I am making these articles available here because I believe the issue is as significant as ever. While the details may change with technological advances, the principles will remain the same.

June 1999

IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT OF INQUIRY to bring ongoing understanding to this subject, I welcome the submissions of others whose ideas and experiences might bring increased illumination to the readers of these pages. I reserve for myself the right to final editorial approval as regards the contents of these pages.


Part One: Issues and Their Implications
Part Two: Ethics Committees
Part Three: Local Perpsectives on the Right-to-Die Debate
Part Four: Patients Have Rights, But Doctors Have Rights, Too
Part Five: The Pros and Cons of Physician Assisted Suicide

Contributions from others:

A Website devoted to music that ministers to people who are bereaved. Broken hearts can find a measure of healing at Quiet Heart Music.

An interesting website by Ilchi Lee providing tools for personal development and changing habits featuring the philosophical and educational work of Ilchi Lee.

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