Unpacking Bedside Bioethics, Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Withdrawing and Withholding: Distinctions and Controversies in End of Life Care

Zoom | Free | Open to the public
Jamie Konerman Sease
Jaime Konerman-Sease, PhD, HEC-C
Justin Penny, DO, MA, HEC-C
Justin Penny, DO, MA, 


Surveys report that 60% of physicians reported that it was more ethically problematic and psychologically difficult to withdraw life-sustaining interventions than to withhold them (Chung et al). Is there a meaningful ethical difference between withdrawing and withholding treatment at the end of life? How should clinicians navigate disagreements surrounding life sustaining interventions at the end of life? This talk explores the ethical nuances of withdrawing or withholding life sustaining treatments. Through case studies exploring artificial nutrition and hydration, cardiac implantable devices, and mechanical ventilation, participants will gain an understanding of the ethics of withholding and withdrawal and their applications to clinical practice. 

Learning Objectives:  After attending this webinar, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the ethical similarities of withdrawing and withholding intervention. 
  • Explore the ethical differences between withdrawing life sustaining interventions and euthanasia.
  • Analyze common cases for the ethical appropriateness of withdrawing or withholding care.  

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  • President’s commission
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Dr. Jaime Konerman-Sease is a Clinical Ethics Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics. She is a member of the team at the Center for Bioethics that provides clinical ethics services for the MHealth Fairview System. Her role includes clinical ethics consultation, policy development, and education for all hospitals in the MHealth Fairview system. Additionally, she is a member of the UMMC Ethics Committee.

Dr. Konerman-Sease's academic work focuses on Disability Bioethics, Medicine and Literature, and Religious Bioethics. By drawing from historical sources, she highlights novel solutions to modern-day health care problems. Her current project draws on the novels of Jane Austen to provide solutions to the marginalization of patients with chronic and incurable illnesses in Medicine. Her future work will continue to focus on the intersection of Medicine, Literature, Theology and Disability. 

Dr. Konerman-Sease completed her PhD in Health Care Ethics and Theology at Saint Louis University in 2022. Konerman-Sease was a 2020-2021 Student Intern for Ethics and Theology at CommonSpirit Health where she assisted in clinical ethics consultation, policy development, and scarce resource allocation. She received the 2023 Emerging Scholar Award from the Institute on Theology and Disability for her doctoral work on chronic illness, Jane Austen, and Christian theology.

Dr. Justin Penny, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, UMN and faculty at the University of Minnesota Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program (Smiley's). He practices full spectrum family medicine, including hospital medicine, obstetrics, primary care, and LGBTQ+ comprehensive care. Through his joint appointment in the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, he is part of the Clinical Ethics Consult team providing clinical ethics services for the MHealth Fairview system and serves on the UMMC Ethics Committee.

Dr. Penny's current academic and research focus is the intersection of LGBTQ+ care and Bioethics, care delivery and medical education concerning transgender and gender nonconforming care, and the needs of an aging LGBTQ+ population.

Dr. Penny has a BS in Biology and a BA in Classics from the University of Kentucky. He completed his DO and MA in Bioethics from Kansas City University. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He is board certified in Family Medicine from the American Board of Family Medicine as well as Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment from the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. He has earned the Healthcare Ethics Consultant Certification (HEC-C) credential through the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH).