Bioethics Blogs

MCDES Fall Conference: Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD)—Lessons Learned in Oregon and Colorado

Join me, physician David Grube, and thanatologist Kim Mooney, at the MCDES Fall Conference: Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD)—Lessons Learned in Oregon and Colorado Mission (September 29, 2017).

Objective – promote thoughtful deliberation about challenges faced by healthcare professionals and healthcare systems as they create patient-centered policies to respond to medical aid in dying legislation and requests. They are neither promoting nor condemning aid in dying, but rather, focusing on how to achieve the best possible care for seriously ill patients and their families if medical aid in dying is legalized.

Pragmatic and Ethical Concerns

  • How will practicing clinicians be educated to respond to requests for physician aid-in-dying, and to connect patients to resources, such as hospice and mental health, in the course of discussing these requests? 
  • How will required legal safeguards, such as establishing prognosis and second opinions, be implemented? 
  • How will the “final attestation” process be implemented? 
  • How will decision-making capacity be assessed? 
  • How will pharmacy policies be implemented, including the management of aid-in-dying medications in health care facilities? 
  • How will health care organizations that elect not to participate respond?
  • How will health care organizations assess and manage conscientious objections by clinicians or other staff?
  • How will health care systems share best practices as issues arise? 
  • How will health care organizations plan for the needs and concerns of diverse populations?


  • Lift up “points to consider” for health care workers and organizations in drafting local policies. 
  • Ongoing collaborations between ethics, palliative care and other allied health care professionals; for example, many believe that improved palliative care services was one outcome of the physician aid-in-dying legislation in Oregon.

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.