By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic MessengerDAVENPORT — All medical professionals, from physicians and nurses to physical therapists and physicians’ assistants, are invited to attend a White Mass at 9 a.m. Oct. 1 at St. Paul the Apostle Parish. Following the Mass, all are invited to a light breakfast and talk by Dr. Wes Ely on “Protecting Human Dignity and Preservation of Self-Worth: A Practical and Compassionate Approach to End-of-Life Care.”
Dr. Timothy Millea, president of the St. Thomas Aquinas Medical Guild and member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, said end-of-life issues are a hot topic.
Dr. Ely has experience with this topic because of his work as a critical care physician. “He will share his experiences and theology behind this issue,” Dr. Millea said. The talk will cover issues related to end-of-life care in the real-world clinical setting, incorporating secular and faith-based concerns, modern controversies related to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, and how to focus on prioritizing human dignity and self-worth through the dying process.
Dr. Millea believes this topic is an important one as physician-assisted suicide was debated in the Iowa Legislature in 2016 and likely will continue to be addressed in the 2017 next session.
He said he first heard Dr. Ely speak at a Catholic Medical Association meeting in 2013. Dr. Ely had just come back from Japan for a critical care meeting. Dr. Millea said he was interested in the fact that the Japanese are Shinto-based in their faith, not Judeo-Christian. “There is such a respect for the elderly in many Asian cultures. I was very enthralled by his talk.”