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La Sor Lecture 2011

Nurse Scientist and Ethicist Will Speak on Issues in End-Of-Life Care at Southern Oregon University

Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing and Southern Oregon University Foundation present Dr. Sarah Shannon, a nationally known nurse educator to speak on disparate views around end-of-life choices and the challenges doctors and nurses face when patients and their families request prolonged aggressive ICU care.

Sarah Shannon, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor of nursing at the University of Washington, is theSarah Shannon featured speaker for the 2011 Betsy LaSor lecture at 7 p.m. March 7 at Southern Oregon University in the Music Recital Hall. OHSU School of Nursing is located at, and provides the nursing education program on campus at SOU. This free, and open to the public lecture, is one of multiple activities where the School of Nursing is honoring their 100th year anniversary.

While many Americans want to avoid what they see as a prolonged death on life support, a small but growing number have been asking for more treatment than their health care providers may believe is appropriate or even compassionate. Shannon will address the issues these groups raise in a program titled “Disparate Views at the End of Life: From Right-to-Die to Right-to-Live.”

There is no professional duty to provide ineffective or futile treatments, but refusing to provide what families or patients may view as potentially life-saving care is fraught with legal, ethical and emotional challenges. Doctors and nurses work with an increasing number of such cases even in Oregon, where there is strong support for declining life-saving treatments. Shannon will discuss why such cases are emerging now, whether raising futility is an effective professional response, and what other options should be considered.

Defining what is of benefit and what constitutes harm is not simple. For some Americans extension of life is a basic right, while for many, retaining cognitive abilities is paramount. For most Americans, a good death is defined as one with minimal pain, occurring outside a hospital setting, and surrounded by loved ones. For a significant minority, however, a good death is defined as “the good fight,” where everything possible was done.

Shannon will share what she has learned over a long career as a nurse, teacher and researcher. She earned a PhD in nursing from the University of Washington and has published a number of papers on end-of-life care issues.

Betsy LaSor was a longtime psychiatric nurse practitioner who wanted Southern Oregon nurses and nursing students to meet a variety of prominent nursing leaders. Her husband, family, friends and colleagues endowed the lecture series that bears her name.

For more information, contact Delcy Tibbetts, at 541-552-8480 or visit

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