Advances in life sciences provide life-prolonging treatments that could stretch our life span beyond borders once unimaginable, but European countries are deeply split over how to treat terminally ill or non curable patients. The public debate is even more dividing and emotional when it comes to euthanasia and its legislation. These matters raise complex ethical, legal and practical questions. How do we define life and death and where’s the dividing line? Who should decide for non-competent patients, like individuals on long-term coma? Should physicians always seek to prolong life? At any cost? These and other questions challenged scientists, GPs, philosophers and the public during the first session of this event.
Gianna Milano (moderator, freelance science journalist, Italy)
Steven Laureys (Coma Science Group, Liège University, Belgium)
'Measuring consciousness in coma and vegetative state'
Carlo Alberto Defanti (Azienda Ospedaliera Niguarda Ca' Granda, Italy)
'The concepts of Brain death and Persistent Vegetative State: similarities and
Penney Lewis (School of Law/Centre of Medical Law and Ethics King's College, UK)
'European perspectives on legal and ethical issues in end of life care'
Iona Heath (Royal College of General Practitioners, UK)
'End of life "If it be not now, yet it will come'