Dr. Jacob M. Appel: Who Says You're Dead?: Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned

Friday October 18: 7:30PM 8:30PM

Buy a copy of Who Says You're Dead? or a $15 gift card in-store to attend. This event will take place in the 2nd Floor Art Department, accessable via our main store entrance at 828 Broadway. 

Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.

In his newest book, Who Says You're Dead?: Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned, Dr. Jacob M. Appel presents an invigorating way to think about vital health and ethical issues that many readers will confront as individuals, or we as a society must reckon with together.

Drawing upon the author’s two decades teaching medical ethics, as well as his work as a practicing psychiatrist, this profound and addictive little book offers up challenging ethical dilemmas and asks readers, What would you do?

  • A daughter gets tested to see if she’s a match to donate a kidney to her father. The test reveals that she is not the man’s biological daughter. Should the doctor tell the father? Or the daughter?
  • A deaf couple prefers a deaf baby. Should they be allowed to use medical technology to ensure they have a child who can’t hear? 
  • Who should get custody of an embryo created through IVF when a couple divorces?
  • When you or a loved one is on life support, who says you’re dead?

In short, engaging scenarios, Dr. Appel takes on hot-button issues that many of us will confront: genetic screening, sexuality, privacy, doctor-patient confidentiality. He unpacks each hypothetical with a brief reflection drawing from science, philosophy, and history, explaining how others have approached these controversies in real-world cases. Who Says You’re Dead? is designed to defy easy answers and to stimulate thought and even debate among professionals and armchair ethicists alike.

Join us in the 2nd floor Art Department as Dr. Appel talks about his newest book with Tom Cathcart. 

Jacob M. Appel, MD, teaches bioethics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he is Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry and a member of the Institutional Review Board. He is also an attending psychiatrist in the Mount Sinai Healthcare System. He holds a medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a master’s in bioethics from the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College. A frequent lecturer, his essays and columns relating to bioethics have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post, and Education Update. Dr. Appel has also published novels and prize-winning short stories.




Tom Cathcart spent most of his career in health care, including directing a boarding home for people with HIV/AIDS in Portland, Maine. After retiring, his old college pal and fellow student of philosophy, Danny Klein, enlisted him as co-author of a book about how jokes can illuminate philosophical ideas. To their shock, after being rejected by 40 publishers, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes became a New York Times and international bestseller. Three more joint books followed. Cathcart is also the author of The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge? a book about the famous ethical conundrum. Tom is married to Eloise Balasco Cathcart, who coordinates the graduate program in nursing administration at NYU. They live in the mid-Hudson Valley.