RAS Issues Symposium: Surgery at the end of life: For love or money?

In light of the fact that Americans are living longer than ever, today’s surgeons are operating on a great many patients well into their 80s and older, many of whom are frail or in their last few months, weeks, or even days of life. The discussion regarding the risks and benefits of surgical interventions in end-of-life situations can be emotionally charged and ethically complex. A key issue that needs to be addressed in modern surgical training and practice is when and whether it is appropriate to operate on patients who are at the end of life.

To help start a discussion regarding these concerns, the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) selected Surgery At the End of Life: For Love or Money? as the topic for the Issues Committee Essay Competition. Surgical residents from the broad spectrum of specialties submitted essays on the topic. The following two essays were runners-up in the competition. The two winning essays were presented at the RAS Symposium at this year’s Clinical Congress, and will be published in an upcoming Bulletin.

RAS Issues Symposium

An argument against heroic intervention

Reining in the scalpel

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