Monday, September 5, 2011

SF Archdiocesan Respect Life Conference to Address End-of-Life Issues

Conference Highlights Dangers of Some Advanced Healthcare Directives

On September 10, 2011, the Archdiocese of San Francisco will host its annual Archdiocesan Respect Life Conference & Public Policy Breakfast in St. Francis Hall at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Speakers will include well-known pro-life advocates such as Dr. Wesley Smith, who will tell attendees “What’s New in the World of Euthanasia?” Msgr. James Tarantino, vicar for administration for the Archdiocese of San Francisco will open the conference in prayer.

In addition to Dr. Smith, Canonist, nurse and scholar Marie Hilliard of the National Catholic Bioethics Center will speak on “Today’s End of Life Issues: Choices and Dangers.” Finally, Ms. Dana Cody, an attorney with the Life Legal Defense Foundation and Ms. Vicki Evans, Respect Life coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco will facilitate a workshop titled “Are All Medical Directives Created Equal?” Ms. Evans (pictured above at the 2011 "Walk for Life West Coast") spoke with "A Shepherd's Voice" about the conference:

“The conference will address the decisions that individuals and families have to make when faced with end-of-life issues. These come up when a person or family member is elderly, and is reaching the end of his or her natural life, but they can also come up, tragically, when an accident or some other unforeseen event occurs. I get a good number of calls from Catholics who are unsure as to what Catholic teaching on end-of- life issues really is. People want to know what the Church teaches about assisted nutrition and hydration, about the use of ventilators, and about ‘do not resuscitate’ orders. Most are not clear about what Catholic teaching about aid in dying really is, what compassion toward the dying really is, and how it differs from widespread secular ideas on the subject.”

“Wesley Smith will be our keynote speaker. He will speak during breakfast. He’s so entertaining and yet so wise and conversant with end-of life issues. He will appropriately scare us with the latest developments around this subject.”

“The heart of the conference will be the address by Dr. Marie Hilliard: ‘Today’s End of Life Issues: Choices and Dangers.’ Dr. Hilliard holds graduate degrees in Maternal-Child Health Nursing, Religious Studies, Canon Law and Professional Higher Education Administration. She also has years of practical experience as registered nurse.”

“We will end with an important session on the uses and dangers of advanced directives: ‘Are All Medical Directives Created Equal?,’ led by attorney Dana Cody and me. It is very important that people know how to properly fill them out and also what the dangers are. There is an excellent Advance Healthcare Directive that has been prepared by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It incorporates Catholic teaching, and I highly recommend it. It can be downloaded from our website.”

“A very real danger today these days is the POLST document. That’s an acronym for ‘Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment.’ That’s a very dangerous document because it is binding on both the patient and the physician. Once executed, it becomes a permanent part of the patient’s electronic medical record. It is definitely something to avoid.”

The conference begins at 9AM on Saturday, September 10.

To learn more, to register or to download the Advance Healthcare Directive recommended by Ms. Evans, go to

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

No comments: