A year ago, Terry Schiavo was dying in nearly every living room in America, her face a daily reminder that technology can keep us alive but can't solve our ethical dilemmas. A year later, Schiavo's husband and parents are back on TV pushing books with opposing views of her death. All of which makes this week's "Rethinking Death" conference at the University of Utah particularly relevant.
While death is still an ultimate certainty (something at one level we can't "rethink"), its particulars - when exactly it happens, when exactly it should happen - have grown increasingly fuzzy. Schiavo died last March 31 after a legal battle that eventually drew in the U.S. Congress, the president and the Vatican. But daily in America, said speakers at this week's conference, families and doctors face bioethical questions just as perplexing.