Bioethics Blogs

A Selfish Request for Honest Conversations

Rev. Shanna Steitz 
On Monday of this last week, I had to fill out a medical advance directive for my husband, Ryan. He was in the hospital at North Kansas City, and they needed a document on file. We have documents at home, but the form was easiest because it was in front of us and immediate. I had to smile when I read the form and saw the small print at the bottom: “This document is provided as a service by the Center for Practical Bioethics.“ I smiled because I was headed to the Center’s annual dinner the very next night.  
If you aren’t familiar with the Center, it is a nonprofit, free-standing and independent organization nationally recognized for its work in practicalbioethics. For more than 30 years, the Center has helped patients and their families, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and corporate leaders grapple with difficult issues in healthcare and research involving patients. I am so proud that several members of our congregation are involved with this important organization:  Myra Christopher is the former President and CEO and still on the staff, Dr. Sandra Stites serves on the Board of Directors, and Rev. George Flanagan is a Center Fellow and formerly on the staff. I saw several other members and friends of our congregation in attendance.  
When I got home from the dinner, my 12-year old son Jacob was up waiting for me. He wanted to know about the evening. We discussed the Center and what our friends there did. It was an interesting conversation…one we’ve had many times before, but it was especially unique given that his dad was spending a third night in the hospital. Ryan wasn’t dying, but Jake knows his parents’ wishes if we should. He has for years.

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.