Join The Conversation
The Conversation Speaker Series is an interactive dive into the world of medical ethics and health policy, presented by the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy.
The 2018-2019 series explores a range of timely topics with our next event on May 30th. Mark your calendar and give yourself plenty of time to read the background material. You won’t want to miss a single event!
Sincere thanks to our sponsors: Virginia Clark, Nancy Dunlap, Doe Florsheim, Jill Glanville and Carolyn Kneese
Raising Consciousness? Minimally Conscious States, Brain Death and our Growing Understanding of Disorders of Consciousness
May 30, 2019, 6:30-8 p.m.
Damian’s Cucina Italiana
Savitri Fedson, M.D.
“I think therefore I am,” to take Descartes out of his context, in some ways puts forth the question that many grapple with as we think about consciousness. Does consciousness require an interaction with the environment, or an awareness of oneself? The intentionality of responses and of movement, or the ability to be aroused or awakened. Definitions of consciousness are as difficult to grasp as the memory of a dream. The criteria which became the legal and medical understanding of brain death is now 50 years old, and 15-20,000 people are declared legally dead by this brain death criteria every year in the United States. But awareness of different states of consciousness are evolving, and there are ever more frequent calls to challenge the idea of brain death. During this session we will explore the murky waters of awareness, from comas to vegetative states to the awareness of minimally conscious states and the potential for awakenings.