Bioethics Blogs

Susan Tolle Wins MacLean Center Prize in Clinical Ethics for Work on POLST

The 2014 MacLean Center Prize in Clinical Ethics, an award of $50,000, will be presented to Susan Tolle, MD, who has pioneered efforts to improve communication between health care providers and patients regarding end-of-life care.

Tolle will receive the MacLean Prize, the largest award in the clinical medical ethics field, during the 26th annual Dorothy J. MacLean Fellows Conference on ethics in medicine. The conference will be held at the University of Chicago Law School, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15.

“Dr. Susan Tolle’s dedication, scholarship and hard work to ensure that patient’s wishes are honored at the end of life has transformed the care of dying patients in the U.S.,” said Mark Siegler, MD, Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery and director of the MacLean Center. “I’m very proud of how Dr. Tolle continues to improve patient care and advance the field of clinical medical ethics.”

Tolle, a professor of medicine in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and director of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care, is one of the founders of the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) movement in Oregon in the early 1990s. In a specific subset of patients — those with advanced illness or frailty — Tolle and others found that advanced directives were insufficient to safeguard patients’ wishes about how they wanted to be treated in life-threatening situations. By contrast, POLST orders work to allow patients to receive the level of care they want in the setting they want.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.