Dr. Lachlan Forrow knows the importance of making end-of-life-care decisions before it’s too late—through his work as director of Ethics and Palliative Care Programs at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and through his lived experience as the adult offspring of aging parents.
As an advisor to The Conversation Project, an organization dedicated to helping people discuss their wishes for end-of-life care with loved ones and health care providers, Forrow shared his own story of being made—at his sister’s behest, actually—to talk with his elderly parents about their wishes for treatment should they become incapacitated, and what kind of funeral/memorial services they desired after their deaths.
“When my private cell phone rang that afternoon, I listened in shocked numbness as Mom told me that the EMT’s had just taken my father from home to the hospital after a totally-unexpected cardiac arrest,” Forrow wrote. “Thanks to the EMT’s, he was alive, but what now? But thanks to Dad, and to my sister Lisa, we all knew what to do.”
We’re thrilled that Forrow, a Fellow for Life and President Emeritus of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, will join us at our 2016 SPARK! Leadership Conference in Boston Nov. 5 to co-lead the workshop “Making Health Care Decisions: The Conversation,” with Fellow for Life Nathan Kottkamp, Esq., the founder and chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day.
Dr. Forrow’s participation in the conference is yet another example of his long service to ASF, which dates back to his 1982 Lambaréné Fellowship. He joined the ASF board in 1983, beginning his long tutelage with board chair Lawrence “Larry” Gussman, which endured until Gussman’s death. Dr. Forrow has been leading ASF operations and guiding its mission ever since, serving as ASF vice president and then president.
He was a driving force behind ASF’s 1991 symposium “Reverence for Life: The Importance of Albert Schweitzer’s Ethics,” which became the catalyst for the 1992 launch of the Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program, which in turn grew into the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program and the centerpiece of ASF’s programming.
In 2013, Dr. Forrow received the inaugural Lawrence Gussman Award for Extraordinary Service to The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, in recognition of all he has done for ASF.
As the elderly population in the U.S. booms, health care providers are increasingly being called upon to encourage and even facilitate these difficult conversations between their older patients and their families. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to hear from Dr. Forrow on this important topic. Register for the SPARK! Leadership Conference today and we’ll see you on Nov. 5!