addcalendar Download Event
Buy Tickets/RSVP

Date & Time

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
6:00 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore


Free and open to the public


Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Susan Shapiro discusses "Speaking for the Dying: Life-and-Death Decisions in Intensive Care." She will be joined in conversation by Kristi L. Kirschner. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

Copies of advance directive forms will be provided at the event.

About the book: Seven in ten Americans over the age of age of sixty who require medical decisions in the final days of their life lack the capacity to make them. For many of us, our biggest, life-and-death decisions—literally—will therefore be made by someone else. Yet despite their critical role, we know remarkably little about how our loved ones decide for us. "Speaking for the Dying" tells their story, drawing on daily observations over more than two years in two intensive care units in a diverse urban hospital. Research has consistently found that choosing life or death for another is one of the most difficult decisions anyone can face, sometimes haunting families for decades. This book shines a bright light on a role few of us will escape and offers steps that patients and loved ones, health care providers, lawyers, and policymakers could undertake before it is too late.

About the author: Susan P. Shapiro is a sociologist and research professor at the American Bar Foundation. She works at the intersection of law and relationships of trust in which one acts of behalf of a vulnerable other—for example, medical decision making for patients without decision-making capacity. Her publications examine the role of law at life’s end, ethics, agency theory, conflict of interest, the professions, securities fraud and regulation, and white-collar crime. In addition to many articles, she is the author of "Tangled Loyalties: Conflict of Interest in Legal Practice" and "Wayward Capitalists: Target of the Securities and Exchange Commission."

About the interlocutor: Kristi L. Kirschner, MD is a Clinical Professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine Department of Medical Education, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation. She specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with a particular interest in the needs of patients with complex neurological disabilities. Dr. Kirschner’s academic interests include medical humanities and bioethics with a focus on disability issues and marginalized populations; the training of health care professionals about health humanities, bioethics and disability; and health care access for people with disabilities including reproductive health services. Her prior affiliations include the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine as well as its Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. She is a prolific author and editor.