How Assisted Suicide Affects Doctors…


Date: January 21, 2018

01) How Assisted Suicide Affects Doctors

“Many physicians are still conflicted about it.

Most persons requesting PAS [physician assisted suicide] are not actively experiencing extreme suffering or inadequate pain control. Data from the Washington and Oregon PAS programs show that most patients choose PAS because they fear loss of dignity and control over their own lives.

Physicians who carry out assisted suicide have a wide variety of emotional and psychological responses. In a structured, in-depth telephone interview survey of 38 U.S. oncologists who reported participating in euthanasia or PAS, more than half of the physicians received “comfort” from having carried out euthanasia or PAS.

“Comfort” was not explicitly defined, but, for example, these physicians felt that they had helped patients end their lives in the way the patients wished. However, nearly a quarter of the physicians regretted their actions. Another 16 percent reported that the emotional burden of performing euthanasia or PAS adversely affected their medical practice.

Other data support the observation that MAID/PAS can be emotionally disturbing to the physician.”

This is something our culture needs to work through.


Stanford’s AI Predicts Death for Better End-of-Life Care…


Date: January 20, 2018

01) Stanford’s AI Predicts Death for Better End-of-Life Care

“The Stanford team’s AI algorithms rely upon deep learning, the popular machine learning technique that uses neural networks to filter and learn from huge amounts of data. The researchers trained a deep learning algorithm on the Electronic Health Records of about 2 million adult and child patients admitted to either the Stanford Hospital or Lucile Packard Children’s hospital to predict the mortality of a given patient within the next three to 12 months. (Predicting the death of a patient within three months would provide too little time for the preparations needed in palliative care.)

”We could build a predictive model using routinely collected operational data in the healthcare setting, as opposed to a carefully designed experimental study,” says Anand Avati, a PhD candidate in computer science at the AI Lab of Stanford University. “The scale of data available allowed us to build an all-cause mortality prediction model, instead of being disease or demographic specific.”

Not sure how I feel about “HAL’s opinion, on when it’s time to pull the plug…on me!…”


To Be, and Remain, With Death…


Date: January 20, 2018

01) Death and the cruel process that follows

“Annalisa Barbieri was lucky to have been able to keep her father at home for 11 hours after he died (Family, 6 January). I found my mother (aged 90) who had died in her sleep at home. Not knowing what to do, I rang her GP. This started a legal process that whisked her body away before I had time to say goodbye.”

It’s not the sort of thing you immediately think about, when a loved one dies…It may sound kind of creepy and morbid, on some level…

…But I’m glad we hung around for an hour or so with the body, after my father died…

It may sound weird…but, there is something comforting in that time…and that peaceful exposure.

I was doing some reading on this…and, actually…since this “Death with Dignity” series was a long time in the back of my mind, this was probably two, three years back…

…some funeral homes actually open up the process to relatives, and allow them to come in and help bathe the body…

Some families handle the entire process, on their own…

I’ve also read accounts from others, as to how deeply meaningful it was to them…to be left with the body for several hours, before it being taken away.

It really makes you think differently on death…experience it differently…if you don’t immediately turn away from it…You just sort of be, and remain, with it.


Algorithms Identify People with Suicidal Thoughts…


Date: January 20, 2018

01) Algorithms Identify People with Suicidal Thoughts

“Mention strong words such as “death” or “praise” to someone who has suicidal thoughts and chances are the neurons in their brains activate in a totally different pattern than those of a non-suicidal person. That’s what researchers at University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University discovered, and trained algorithms to distinguish, using data from fMRI brain scans.

The scientists published the findings of their small-scale study Monday in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. They hope to study a larger group of people and use the data to develop simple tests that doctors can use to more readily identify people at risk of suicide.”


Seth Andrews: What Dreams May Come…


Date: January 20, 2018

01) Seth Andrews: What Dreams May Come

“In this (extremely informal) video commentary, Seth Andrews talks about weird dreams, cults and cultures, and the pitfalls of keeping others comfortable.”

Personally…the nagging stopped after a few years…

…At this point…I don’t know if they’ve just forgotten about it, or what…but it doesn’t even come up, anymore…Things are as they used to be.

Sometimes, I’ll get invited to church…or a religious themed holiday card…but, that’s the extent of it.

I’m at peace with this.

Sometimes…I wonder why we were religious, at all…

…Seth is correct…So much of it just does not make any sense…on a “we ought to know better” level.

…Why is atheism even a source of tension?…It’s such an obviously sound conclusion…if you have the courage, to be starkly honest.

Atheist_Media_SB_ArchiveAtheist Media Links

White House Directed Bannon’s Silence During Testimony…

Date: January 19, 2018

01) White House Directed Bannon’s Silence During Testimony

“During Steve Bannon’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on the Trump team’s ties to Russia, Bannon’s attorney Bill Burck was on the phone with a White House lawyer who directed Bannon as to whether to answer the questions