Health & Family

End-of-life series beginning Thursday

Spiritual care at the end of life will be the subject of a lecture series starting this week at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

David Carl, executive director of pastoral care at CMC, has arranged this annual program for many years, focusing each series on a different topic. In 2002, he sponsored a visit by Raymond Moody, the author of “Life After Life,” who told stories of near-death experiences. Since then, Carl has been contacted by many people who want to talk about visions of loved ones who died.

Carl will address that topic again in April.

The series kicks off Thursday with a lecture by Dr. David Jacobs, associate director of CMC's trauma institute. He'll talk about “how do you know when somebody's dead,” Carl said. “Is somebody who's being kept alive on a ventilator and has no brain function in the brain stem – are they alive or are they dead? When to pronounce someone dead is tricky.”

Other topics and dates:

Oct. 16: “Born Dying,” by a panel of nurse specialists from CMC's neonatal intensive care unit.

Nov. 20: “The Need for Care-Givers to Weep,” Dr. Lynn Schiffern, a trauma surgeon.

Dec. 18: “Spiritual Resources at the End of Life,” Rose Bryan, a nurse and chaplain at CMC.

Jan. 15: “Dynamics of Grief,” Tom O'Neal, CMC chaplain.

Feb. 19: “When Children Die,” Dr. Dan McMahon, pediatric oncologist at Levine Children's Hospital.

March 19: “Use of Self at the End of Life,” Jim Pruett, CMC chaplain.

April 16: “Healing Visions at the End of Life,” David Carl.

May 21: “Ethical Issues at the End of Life,” Lance Stell, medical ethicist at CMC.

All talks will be in CMC's auditorium, noon to 1 p.m. Brown bag lunches welcome.