Assisting Death in America: A Cultural Account of a New Medical Frontier

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
  • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
Mara Buchbinder, PhD, UNC Center for Bioethics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Lunch provided at noon. Talk begins at 12:10pm.

Legislative support for medically assisted dying in the United States has risen steadily in recent years. Eight US jurisdictions currently authorize physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a mentally competent, terminally ill, adult patient for the purpose of ending the patient's life, provided that certain conditions are met. In this talk, Professor Buchbinder will present findings from the Vermont Study on Aid-in-Dying, which investigated the implementation of Vermont's "Patient Choice and Control at End of Life" Act, enacted in 2013. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in Vermont, she will focus on the gaps between advocacy narratives and what assisted death looks like once it is put into practice.

Mara Buchbinder, PhD is a medical anthropologist with broad interests in cultures of health, illness, and medicine in the United States. Her recent work focuses on how patients, families, and healthcare providers navigate social and ethical challenges resulting from changes in medical technology, law, and health policy.