Upcoming medical forum to address ethical issues

PORT ANGELES — What do you do with a patient who didn’t wear a bicycle helmet, was seriously injured in a traffic collision and has no medical insurance coverage?

Do you just let such a patient die?

Such moral and ethical questions will be addressed at the second of four League of Women Voters of Clallam County-sponsored forums at 7 p.m. July 11 in the Little Theater on the Peninsula College Port Angeles campus, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles co-sponsors the forums.

The imperative to reduce unsustainable health care costs is causing the nation to examine important questions of access and responsibility, said Bertha Cooper, forum organizer for the league.

Cooper said the second forum will focus on moral and ethical questions surrounding the health care debate and present varying points of view.

“We are in tough economic times, which is probably why this issue exists,” Cooper said.

“Is health care a privilege to be earned or a right regardless of individual responsibility?” she added.

“There is also the question of, are we going to pay for people that haven’t earned it?”

Another example, she said: Should a cancer patient be denied treatment because he or she does not have medical coverage?

The second forum follows a May presentation and discussion that drew an audience of more than 100 at the college’s Little Theater.

The effects of the existing system on the provision of local services, the national economy and national health outcomes were then presented.

Speakers for forum

Speakers for the second forum are:

■ Sarah Shannon, a registered nurse and associate professor, vice associate dean/academic programs, biobehavioral nursing and health systems at the University of Washington, will frame the importance of having ethical and moral discussions.

■ Rebecca Corley, a medical doctor in pulmonary and critical-care medicine at Olympic Medical Physicians, will discuss ethical and moral issues from the point of view of a practicing physician.

■ Phyllis Darling, Bachelor of Arts in social science and Master of Arts in European history will present a from the point of view of individual responsibility and individual freedom.

■ Mary Wegmann, a clinical psychologist, will present from the point of view of societal responsibility and the common good.

Panel discussion

Following the presentations, Shannon will facilitate a panel discussion in which panelists can respond to audience questions.

The remaining two forums will be held in August and September, with dates to be announced.

They will address the health care market and its importance to the economy and the health of the nation.

A discussion of options for broad reform will be addressed at the final forum, Cooper said.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2390 or at [email protected]

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