Bioethics Blogs

The Unbefriended – NYC HHC Annual John Corser Ethics Conference

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is the largest municipal  health care system in the United States.  This year, its John Corser Ethics Conference is tackling one of the biggest, yet perennially neglected, topics in clinical bioethics: medical decision making for patients without surrogates.

The term “unbefriended” describes those persons–regardless of age–who reach the end of life with neither decision-making capacity nor surrogates.  All concerned agree these patients need special compassion and protection. Yet it can be unclear at the end of life which treatments are in the patients’ best interest and which are an undesirable burden.


Compelling case presentations and audience interaction will define and clarify clinical, ethical, and legal approaches to the New York Family Health Care Decision Act.


At the conclusion of the seminar, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify the scope of the national response to the Unbefriended client
  • Describe at least 2 issues which are relevant to the national discussion of the Unbefriended client.
  • Identify issues considered when drafting the FHCDA and how they determined the outcome pertaining to the unbefriended.
  • Identify clinical and ethical issues confronted when working with the Unbefriended client.
  • Describe clinical and ethical impasses created by the FHCDA law pertaining to the Unbefriended cllient.
  • Identify potential solutions to ethical/legal issues that confront clinicians when working with their Unbefriended clients.

This program is free to all NYC HHC employees.  A light breakfast and lunch will be served.  Continuing Education Credits have been applied for.  Space is limited.

8:00-8:30               

Breakfast and Registration

8:30-8:45                     

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Ross Wilson, MD HHC Senior Vice President, Quality and Corporate Chief Medical Office

8:45-9:00 
Nature of Conference and Opening Remarks
Susan Sanelli-Russo, MD, Chairperson of the HHC Ethics Council, Director of Neurology Queens Hospital Center.

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.