One of the most difficult issues to emerge during the national debate on health reform is how to best care for people in the final stages of life. What kind of treatment should a dying person receive? Who ought to pay for this care? And how are these difficult decisions made? AirTalk goes on the road to explore the tough issues surrounding end-of-life care at The California Endowment.
Alexander Capron, USC University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Law and Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. He is also the co-director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics at USC. Professor Capron's areas of expertise include bioethics, health care policy, access to health care, and the relationship between law and medicine.
Dr. Alexandra Levine (M.D., M.A.C.P.), Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director for Clinical Programs, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. An internationally renowned expert in lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and AIDS-related malignancies, Levine oversees all clinical and hospital care programs, including quality of service, patient safety, clinical research, clinical information management and professional education. Levine was previously a distinguished professor and chair of the Division of Hematology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and medical director of USC/Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital.
Dr. Robert Orr, Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Dr. Orr is the co-author two books, co-editor of three others, and has contributed to 10 book chapters, and over 100 articles related to clinical ethics, the ethics consultation process, and issues in terminal care. He practiced family medicine in Vermont for 18 years where he was named Vermont Family Doctor of the Year in 1989. From 1990-2000 he was the Director of Clinical Ethics and Professor of Family Medicine at Loma Linda University in Southern California. He has chaired the Council on Ethical Affairs for the California Medical Association, and was Vice President of the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities. He has served on the Ethics Commission of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.
Kathryn Tucker, Director of Legal Affairs at Compassion and Choices, a national non-profit public interest organization “dedicated to improving end-of-life and expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill.” Ms. Tucker served as lead counsel representing patients and physicians in two landmark federal cases decided by the United States Supreme Court, asserting that mentally competent terminally ill patients have a constitutional right to choose aid in dying. Ms. Tucker argued the issue in the United States Supreme Court.