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36 Hamline Law Review 139 (2013)


As America grays, and medicine’s ability to treat the sickest of patients expands, the legal, medical, and ethical issues in end-of-life care become more numerous, pressing, and intertwined. Because Minnesota’s citizens, clinicians, and courts are not far from these concerns, the Hamline University Health Law Institute and the Hamline Law Review hosted an interdisciplinary Symposium entitled "Legal, Medical, and Ethical Issues in Minnesota End-of-Life Care."

On November 9, 2012, we welcomed more than 200 participants to the newly opened Carol Young Anderson and Dennis L. Anderson Center on Hamline University’s Saint Paul campus. These participants included: attorneys, physicians, nurses, social workers, ethicists, patient advocates, legal aids, government regulators, professors, students, chaplains, and other allied health professionals.

These informed participants engaged in a day-long exploration of end-of-life legal, medical, and ethical issues, specifically as they impact Minnesota. They heard from regional and national experts, both scholars and practitioners, who discussed pragmatic and provocative topics. These topics ranged from guardianship and the use of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment ("POLST"), to medical futility disputes, surrogate decision making, and aid-in-dying.

Last November’s Symposium brought various legal and healthcare disciplines together to identify problems, challenges, strategies, and solutions for Minnesota end-of-life care.This special issue of the Hamline Law Review is designed to recall, and indeed carry forward, the urgently important dialogues featured at the Symposium. This Introduction summarizes both the oral presentations and the articles in the printed volume.