June 6, 2016 |
Over the last few decades, Philadelphia has become known as the juvenile-lifer capital of the world, home to 300 people sentenced as teens to die in prison. That era is rapidly drawing to a close. Two men locked up since the 1970s received new sentences Friday, making them eligible for parole immediately. It marks the start of a resentencing process in the city that could take up to three years. By the end of it, District Attorney Seth Williams expects almost no juveniles will be sentenced to life without parole - a fate the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama in 2012 must be "uncommon," reserved for the "rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.
May 22, 2016 |
When she filled out the advance directive form, Lisa Curcio, who has metastatic breast cancer, made it clear that she does not want aggressive measures as the end nears. "If my body can't function on its own, then my body is telling me it's time to go," said Curcio, a 44-year-old Levittown accounting clerk. She's currently responding well to treatment but knows that her cancer is likely to be deadly. Faced with the same questions, Matthew Bellina, a 32-year-old with the fatal neurological disease ALS, said he wanted to go all out. The Holland, Pa., man has two young boys and he wants every last second with them, even if he can only move one eyelid.
January 24, 2016
The United States compares well to six other developed nations on some measures of end-of-life care, such as the percentage of patients who die in the hospital, but we're still on the pricey side, according to the first international comparison of its kind. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the department of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, was senior author of the paper, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It compared site of death, health-care use, and hospital cost for cancer patients over 65 in Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.S. Among the findings: The U.S. had the lowest proportion of patients die in acute-care hospitals, 22.2 percent.
February 23, 2015 |
It may be the fact that Atul Gawande is a doctor - a Harvard doctor, yet - that draws readers to his books on our flawed medical system. But he wouldn't make the best-seller lists if he wrote - or thought - like most doctors. This is a guy with one of those renaissance-man resumés that makes even quite accomplished people look like slackers. Stanford undergrad. Rhodes scholar studying philosophy. Health-care adviser to President Bill Clinton. Medical degree and master's in public health from Harvard.
December 10, 2014 |
Brittany Maynard and the Death With Dignity movement have received significant attention this fall, but one stalwart in end-of-life care says the push for physician-assisted suicide is premature, and distracts from a much more important issue. Joanne Lynn, a geriatrician, hospice physician, former Medicare medical director, and author, has spent her career fighting to improve care of the dying. She says laws such as Oregon's - allowing terminally ill, mentally competent people such as Maynard, with six months or less to live, to end their lives - would not be applicable to most Americans.
March 6, 2014 |
When the hospice nurse called police in the assisted-suicide case of Barbara Mancini, David Casarett knew he had work to do. He feared that the actions of one hospice nurse could discourage Americans from using that model of palliative care for the terminally ill, or inhibit dying people in pain from taking morphine. So Casarett, a University of Pennsylvania physician and chief medical officer of Penn-Wissahickon Hospice, teamed with law professor Thaddeus Pope, formerly of Widener University and an expert in end-of-life law, to develop ethical guidelines for hospice workers nationwide on when to report suspicions of assisted suicide.
September 11, 2013 |
Salvator Mundi, the portrait of Christ by Renaissance master Antonello da Messina, stares through you. It doesn't matter how you address the beneficent visage, which looms over the stage during On the Concept of the Face Regarding the Son of God . It doesn't matter whether you believe in Jesus as a divine power; his gaze burrows into you as it burned into Romeo Castellucci. "He called me as a man, not as God," says the provocative Italian theater practitioner, whose play runs Thursday through Saturday at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre as part of the 2013 Fringe Festival.
March 30, 2012 |
Bruce Graham's fine new play, The Outgoing Tide, at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, is deeply moving and surprisingly funny, a straight-talking, unpretentious meditation on Alzheimer's and end-of-life suffering: "Quality of life. Kiss my ass. " Directed with invisible finesse and strength by James J. Christy, the excellent cast provides bedrock realism, refusing any of the topic's maudlin possibilities. The fact is, Gunner (Richard Poe), a tough guy who ran a trucking company and dealt with the Teamsters, is losing his memory and his mind; he still has enough left to plan his exit, refusing to settle for years of humiliating deterioration in a "home.
January 23, 2012 |
The tragedies pile one atop the next, like snow across the central hills, and the latest is that Joe Paterno, hectored by cancer and battered by the events of the last three months, lost his last battle with the clock on Sunday morning. Family and friends were called to the hospital throughout the day Saturday as the 85-year-old former coach's condition deteriorated and the final vigil began. There is nothing but sadness that all of it has happened. There was only that while reporting the story of child abuse that emerged from the Penn State campus, and only regret, a regret shared by Paterno, that more wasn't done to deal with a predator in their midst.
July 11, 2011 |
TRENTON - Two measures that proponents say would make decisions about end-of-life care easier for New Jerseyans and their families have been sent to Gov. Christie's desk. One bill would mandate that the state create a document enabling patients to indicate their preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment. The other would create an advisory council to study the quality and cost-effectiveness of end-of-life care services and how easily they can be accessed. The Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly approved both measures last month.