2017 Curtis R. Holzgang, M.D., MACP Visiting Scholar

October 17-18, 2017
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Providence Center for Health Care Ethics announces our 2017 Visiting Scholar, Ralf Jox, M.D., PhD.

This lectureship honors retired director of Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Curtis Holzgang, who is an inspiration in ethics education—especially for internal medicine residents working in critical care.

Presentations will be available for in-person attendance as well as post-event online viewing. See below for more details, as well as presentation dates, times and locations.

This lectureship is made possible by generous donor gifts to Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation.

Register Online Now


Patty Goss


Ralf J. Jox, M.D., Ph.D. 

lf J. Jox, M.D., Ph.D. will speak at the Providence Portland Center for Health Care Ethics 2017 Curtis R. Holzgang, M.D., MACP Visiting Scholar event on the role of medical decision making in patients with non-verbal behavior and the ethical issues of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED).

Ralf Jox, M.D., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Geriatric Palliative Care at Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland, and Assistant Professor for Medical Ethics at the University of Munich, Germany. His research activities focus on end-of-life decisions, geriatrics ethics, neuroethics and clinical ethics consultation.

Dr. Jox studied medicine at the Universities of Freiburg, Munich and Harvard Medical School; is a trained philosopher; and completed a Master in medical ethics and law at King’s College London. He holds board certificates in neurology and palliative care and is a certified clinical ethicist.


What They Don’t Say: Non-verbal Patient Behavior and its Role in Medical Decision Making

Patients who lack decision-making capacity may display non-verbal behavior such as refusing eating or nursing care that can complicate the medical decision making process by the treating teams and surrogate decision makers. Such behavior is not only difficult to interpret, but also difficult to reconcile with standard ethical and legal criteria or directions contained in advance care planning. This presentation will summarize existing empirical evidence and discuss possible ethical approaches to this problem.

1,001 Ethical Issues with Voluntarily Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED)

Voluntarily stopping of eating and drinking (VSED) has been increasingly advocated as a more humane and less ethically problematic alternative to assisted suicide. Additionally, some patients and groups are advocating for including VSED in advance care planning documentation which may expand the use of advance directives beyond widely accepted standards. Dr. Jox will challenge these views by demonstrating that some forms of professional support for VSED are equivalent to assisted suicide.

Continuing Education Credit

These events meet the criteria for 1.2-1.8 nursing contact hours. Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Department of Nursing, 9205 SW Barnes Road, Portland, Oregon, is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, provider number CEP8693.

Providence Portland Medical Center designates these live educational activities for a maximum of 1.0-1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in these activities. Providence Portland Medical Center is accredited by the Oregon Medical Association to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians.

View Online

Both presentations will be recorded and posted here approximately two weeks after the live presentations. We recommend registering and selecting “Online Viewing.” Once the presentations are posted, an email will be sent to those who registered with links to both presentations and information on how to attain continuing education credit.