Covert Consciousness & Civil Rights: Rethinking presumptions about brain injury

Public Forum with Joe Fins, Feb. 22
Traumatic Brain Injury

Join us for a special bioethics public forum on Thursday, February 22 at 12:30 p.m. with Dr.Joseph Fins on "Covert Consciousness and Civil Rights: Rethinking Old Presumptions about Brain Injury."

Currently, patients with severe brain injuries who are believed to be unconscious based on bedside examination may actually possess covert consciousness --- a state of awareness detectable only by new technologies.

The presumed futility of treating these severe disorders of consciousness was central to establishing a right to die. Dr. Joseph J. Fins will discuss how this new knowledge about severe brain injury compels us to reconsider medical diagnosis and civil rights of this marginalized population.

About the speaker:

Joseph J. Fins, MD, MACP

Dr. Joseph J. Fins, M.D., M.A.C.P., is Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College where he serves as Professor of Medicine, Professor of Public Health and Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry. Dr. Fins is also Director of Medical Ethics at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Rockefeller University and a Senior Attending Physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital.

A recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, Dr. Fins has also received a Soros Open Society Institute Project on Death in America Faculty Scholars Award, a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Visiting Fellowship and support from the Dana and Buster Foundations. He was appointed by President Clinton to The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and currently serves on The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law by gubernatorial appointment.