Vermont author and award-winning journalist Stephen Kiernan will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 Porter Medical Center annual meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at Kirk Alumni Center on the campus of Middlebury College and is free and open to the public. Kiernan is the author of Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System which was published by St. Martins Press and is now in its third printing. Kiernan will discuss his book, which was the result of more than 500 interviews with individuals and families about how, over the past three decades, a variety of medical advances have extended lives and fundamentally changed the way we die and view the process of dying. His interviews were with health care providers, as well as many individuals who have experienced their own very personal end of life situations involving loved ones, which have ranged from long and painful to peaceful and dignified. This is a powerful book about an important and timely topic, both here in Vermont and nationally, said PMC President James L. Daily. We are pleased to provide this opportunity to members of our community to learn more about a complex and meaningful issue that either has, or will, affect nearly everyone at some point in their life.