Conscious?

Thursday 23 February 2012, 19.00-20.30

Neural network by Jurgen Ziewe

Listen to an edited recording of this event. Download the MP3.

The end of life is now thought of as the cessation of brain activity rather than a final heartbeat. Recent advances raise profound questions of autonomy, quality of life, fair use of resources, the wishes of loved ones and professional responsibility in ever more situations following illness and at the end of life. Is it humane or inhumane to withdraw food and fluids from patients trapped in a seemingly lifeless body? If they are incapable of communication, are they unaware of their environment and themselves and therefore unconscious? How profound does damage to the brain have to be before a doctor or a relative will pronounce death? And what if they disagree? A distinguished panel of experts considers present dilemmas, future hopes for resolving them and advances that may lead to communication with, and even recovery for, those previously thought irretrievably to have lost consciousness.

Speakers

Neil Levy, Deputy Director, Oxford Centre for Neuroethics

Ann Gallagher, Director, International Centre for Nursing Ethics, University of Surrey

Roy Hayim, Author, 'The Will to Live'

Chair

Claudia Hammond, BBC Radio 4 presenter

This event was part of our series on neuroethics.

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