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An explanation and analysis of how world religions formulate their ethical decisions on withdrawing treatment and determining death

March 31, 2015 Comments off

An explanation and analysis of how world religions formulate their ethical decisions on withdrawing treatment and determining death
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Introduction
This paper explores definitions of death from the perspectives of several world and indigenous religions, with practical application for health care providers in relation to end of life decisions and organ and tissue donation after death. It provides background material on several traditions and explains how different religions derive their conclusions for end of life decisions from the ethical guidelines they proffer.

Methods
Research took several forms beginning with a review of books and articles written by ethicists and observers of Bön, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous Traditions, Islam, Judaism, Shinto and Taoism. It then examined sources to which these authors referred in footnotes and bibliographies. In addition, material was gathered through searches of data bases in religious studies, general humanities, social sciences and medicine along with web-based key word searches for current policies in various traditions.

Results
Religious traditions provide their adherents with explanations for the meaning and purpose of life and include ethical analysis for the situations in which their followers find themselves. This paper aims to increase cultural competency in practitioners by demonstrating the reasoning process religions use to determine what they believe to be the correct decision in the face of death.

Conclusion
Patterns emerge in the comparative study of religious perspectives on death. Western traditions show their rootedness in Judaism in their understanding of the human individual as a finite, singular creation. Although the many branches of Western religions do not agree on precisely how to determine death, they are all able to locate a moment of death in the body. In Eastern traditions personhood is not defined in physical terms. From prescribing the location of death, to resisting medical intervention and definitions of death, Eastern religions, in their many forms, incorporate the beliefs and practices that preceded them. Adding to the complexity for these traditions is the idea that death is a process that continues after the body has met most empirical criteria for determining death. For Hinduism and Buddhism, the cessation of heart, brain and lung function is the beginning of the process of dying—not the end.

UK — National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness

March 27, 2015 Comments off

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness
Source: University of Manchester

We found 18 deaths by suicide per year in in-patients under observation across the UK during 2006-12. We found that half of deaths examined occurred when checks were carried out by less experienced staff or agency staff who were unfamiliar with the patient. A common feature was that staff did not follow the observation plan because the ward was busy or poorly designed. We found that the current observation approach is not working safely enough. New models need to be developed and evaluated.

EU — How safe are your roads? Commission road safety statistics show small improvement for 2014

March 25, 2015 Comments off

How safe are your roads? Commission road safety statistics show small improvement for 2014
Source: European Commission

Following two years of solid decreases in the number of people killed on Europe’s roads, the first reports on road deaths in 2014 are disappointing. According to the figures released today, the number of road fatalities has decreased by approximately 1% compared to 2013. This follows on the 8% decrease in 2012 and 2013. The figures reveal a total of 25 700 road deaths in 2014 across all 28 Member States of the EU. Whilst this is 5700 fewer than in 2010, it falls short of the intended target decrease.

Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality A Meta-Analytic Review

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review
Source: Perspectives on Psychological Science

Actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk for early mortality. In this meta-analytic review, our objective is to establish the overall and relative magnitude of social isolation and loneliness and to examine possible moderators. We conducted a literature search of studies (January 1980 to February 2014) using MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Work Abstracts, and Google Scholar. The included studies provided quantitative data on mortality as affected by loneliness, social isolation, or living alone. Across studies in which several possible confounds were statistically controlled for, the weighted average effect sizes were as follows: social isolation odds ratio (OR) = 1.29, loneliness OR = 1.26, and living alone OR = 1.32, corresponding to an average of 29%, 26%, and 32% increased likelihood of mortality, respectively. We found no differences between measures of objective and subjective social isolation. Results remain consistent across gender, length of follow-up, and world region, but initial health status has an influence on the findings. Results also differ across participant age, with social deficits being more predictive of death in samples with an average age younger than 65 years. Overall, the influence of both objective and subjective social isolation on risk for mortality is comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality.

Fast Times During Spring Breaks: Are Traffic Fatalities Another Consequence?

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Fast Times During Spring Breaks: Are Traffic Fatalities Another Consequence?
Source: Economic Inquiry

Every year in the United States, millions of college students travel for spring break, spending billions of dollars. We examine a potential adverse consequence of spring break that has received little attention in the literature—traffic safety. In particular, we estimate the impact of spring break season on fatal passenger vehicle crashes. Using daily county-level longitudinal data on traffic fatalities in popular spring break destinations from 1982 to 2011, we conduct separate analyses by age groups, license status, and alcohol involvement in the crash. Our findings indicate that passenger vehicle fatalities are significantly overrepresented during the spring break season. (JEL I12, I18, H73)

Childhood, Infant and Perinatal Mortality in England and Wales, 2013

March 13, 2015 Comments off

Childhood, Infant and Perinatal Mortality in England and Wales, 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Main points

  • There were 2,686 infant deaths (deaths under 1 year) in England and Wales in 2013, compared with 2,912 infant deaths in 2012 and 6,381 in 1983.
  • In 2013, the infant mortality rate was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, the lowest ever recorded in England and Wales. This compares with an infant mortality rate of 4.0 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012 and 10.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1983.
  • Infant mortality rates were lowest for babies of mothers aged 25 to 29 years (3.4 deaths per 1,000 live births) and highest for babies of mothers aged under 20 years (6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births).
  • In 2013, the infant mortality rates for very low birthweight babies (under 1,500 grams) and low birthweight babies (under 2,500 grams) were 164.0 and 32.4 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively.

UK — Choice in end of life care

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Choice in end of life care
Source: Department of Health

The independently led Review of Choice in End of Life Care has provided advice to Government which includes:

  • establishing a ‘national choice offer’ focused on individual’s end of life care needs by April 2020
  • providing an additional £130 million funding for end of life health and social care services
  • establishing 24/7 community end of life care by 2019 in all areas
  • implementing shared electronic end of life care records by April 2018 in all areas
  • a named responsible senior clinician for all people approaching the end of life
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