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Author Archive: The American Journal of Bioethics


by Nathan Emmerich

Having an interest in the nature and possibility of ‘Bioethical Expertise’ the recent blog post by Professor Klugman caught my eye. In it he summarizes a post I wrote for the Guardian’s Political Science blog with the suggestion that it “warns that one must not give greater weight to the opinion of a bioethics expert than to anyone else.” Whilst this is not an accurate representation of my views I wasn’t exactly surprised, to find it attributed to me. No doubt due to my own failings many misunderstood what I was trying to communicate. In fact, I do think that (bio)ethical expertise exists but I do not think this can justifies moral authority or ‘testimony’ in that way we would usually understand the term.…

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Bandy X. Lee, M.D.

*Primum non nocere*, to first do no harm, is the unchanging foundation for Hippocratic medical ethics. Each generation must, nevertheless, redefine what “doing no harm” means for its time. As we are making historic transitions in healthcare in the U.S., now is such a time for our generation.

“Doing no harm” means first avoiding doing the most extreme harm—that is, violence. Meanwhile, it is important to note that our understanding of what constitutes violence has also been expanding: the multi-determined nature of violence, no matter the scale, point to causal dynamics beyond the immediately apparent. The greatest predictor for interpersonal violence levels, for instance, turns out to be societal inequities in income and wealth.…

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Dear Sir or Madam:

I read with interest Professor Thaddeus Pope’s article “Dangerous Catholic Attack on the POLST?”  The title of that article is insensitive inasmuch as the words “dangerous Catholic” imply a religious bias that I am sure was not intended.  Beyond this Pope’s article warrants rebuttal because it overstates the evidence supporting the form and is misleading.

Professor Pope asserts that “a number of scientifically rigorous studies have demonstrated POLST’s material benefits.”  This is an exaggeration. There are only two scientifically rigorous studies of the POLST and these are large NIH funded studies in which a POLST advocate was the principal investigator. …

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ATTENTION: HEALTH CARE ETHICS CONSULTANTS

The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) would like your input.

Please take part in this short (8 question) survey to determine whether you endorse the FINAL DRAFT of the Code of Ethics for Health Care Ethics Consultants:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YNBZFLZ

(Paste link in browser if survey doesn’t load by clicking on it.)

It should take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Please note that the Code Preface and Responsibility Statements have already undergone extensive revision based on prior survey feedback and review from members of ASBH’s Clinical Ethics Consultation Affairs (CECA) standing committee, so comments (if any) should be targeted.…

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Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

Why does film critic Roger Ebert’s passing matter to those of us who study bioethics and health care humanities? In part, because so many of the films he reviewed over the years centered on issues that matter to those of us in our field. For instance, in his review of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ebert stated in the first sentence: “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a film about a man who experiences the catastrophe I most feared during my recent surgeries: “locked-in syndrome,” where he is alive and conscious but unable to communicate with the world.” Thankfully, Ebert was still able to write and communicate.

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Neuro 2

This year’s first issue of
AJOB Neuroscience includes:

COGNITIVE ENHANCEMENT AND EMOTION

RECONSIDERING DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION

MINIMALLY CONSCIOUS AND END-OF-LIFE CARE

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