Presented by Visiting Scholar S. Kay Toombs, Ph.D
Recorded on 9/7/2011

1. To explore a first-hand account of the lived experience of incurable illness and dying from the perspective of the patient and to consider how this experience is shaped by the meanings, values and practices of the surrounding culture and the context of modern medicine.
2. To identify values and practices that enable health professionals, caregivers, and those who are sick to better respond to the global experience of loss of wholeness and disorder that characterizes the patient’s experience.
3. To distinguish between healing and curing disease and to emphasize the importance of healing in the context of incurable illness, as well as to reflect on the reciprocal nature of the care giving relationship as a catalyst to healing.

Please note that this video is for informational purposes only and is not for CE/CME credit.

S. Kay Toombs is an associate professor emeritus of philosophy at Baylor University. Diagnosed in 1973 with multiple sclerosis, her writings explore her firsthand experience of chronic progressive debilitating disease in order to reflect on issues relating to the experience of illness and disability, the phenomenology of the body, the experience of disability, the care of the chronically ill, the challenges of incurable illness, and the relationship between health care professionals and patients. Her highly-praised book, The Meaning of Illness: A Phenomenological Account of the Different Perspectives of Physician and Patient (1992), has been translated into Chinese and Japanese. She is editor of The Handbook of Phenomenology and Medicine (2001) and co-editor of Disability: The Social, Political and Ethical Debate (2008) and Chronic Illness:From Experience to Policy (1995). Toombs has also published numerous essays and articles in books, as well as in medical and philosophical journals. Several of her lectures: Living at the Boundary, Living and Dying with Dignity, and The Human Dimension of Sustainable Culture have also been published. Toombs has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences throughout the U.S., Canada and Western Europe.

The Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics sponsors the Fairbanks Ethics Lecture Series as an educational outreach to physicians and staff of Indiana University Health hospitals and interested others in the central Indiana community. For additional information about the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics, please visit our website at

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