Science Seminar Examines Health Care Decisions

Advances in medical technology, from antibiotics and chemotherapy to dialysis and ventilators, have changed not just how we live, but, often, how we die. Providers and patients confront decisions that never existed before.

Mimi Mahon, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Mimi Mahon, Ph.D., RN, FAAN

Mimi Mahon, associate professor in the School of Nursing at George Mason University, Fairfax, will speak on the topic, “How We Got to Where We Are: A Brief Review of the Right to Refuse Treatment,” at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in room 104 of the Suter Science Center at EMU.

This seminar is the fifth in the Suter Science Seminar series that began in mid-September.

Dr. Mahon, an advanced practice nurse in palliative care and ethics at GMU, will focus on factors that affect health care decisions, using the cases of Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo to frame the discussion.

Focus on Pediatrics

Mahon spent 20 years as a pediatric nurse, focusing primarily on the care of children who were dying and their families. She received a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, co-chaired the hospital ethics committee and was a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics.

She did additional post graduate work in the areas of palliative care at Ursuline College and became a pediatric nurse practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mahon joined the George Mason faculty in 2005. Her continuing research covers child bereavement issues, examines pediatricians’ beliefs about and practices with bereaved children, explores oncology nurses’ beliefs about caring for patients with cancer and investigates the symptoms and experiences of seriously ill patients.

Reflection of Our Own Values

“How we assist people in making difficult decisions related to health and end of life is a reflection of our own values, said Donald L. Tyson, associate professor of nursing at EMU.

“Dr. Mahon takes a rather unique approach in eby emphasizing the importance of asking the ‘right question in such circumstances. This seminar will help all people interested in health care ethical issues to begin learning how to ask the right question.”

The seminar is open to the public free of charge. For more information, contact Roman J. Miller at 540-432-4412 or email