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Author Archive: Blog Editor

02/22/2018

Pediatric Participation in Medical Decision Making: Optimized or Personalized?

This post also appears in the March 2018 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics

by Maya Sabatello, Annie Janvier, Eduard Verhagen, Wynne Morrison & John Lantos

Olszewski and Goldkind argue that children’s participation in medical decision making should be “the default position” and that a stepwise approach is needed to ensure that children are routinely given a voice. They suggest a systematic approach for optimizing such pediatric participation and apply it to two cases concerning terminally ill children: Mary, a 15-year-old girl, and Joe, a 7-year-old boy. The style of argument highlights a generalized problem in bioethical analyses. Authors’ framing of case vignettes is often stylized to illustrate the authors’ central arguments and to support their conclusions.…

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This entry was posted in Editorial-AJOB, End of Life Care, Featured Posts, Pediatrics and tagged . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

02/13/2018

Artist’s Note

by Kate Zumach

There is an interesting trend in quantifying our everyday lives, turning tasks into data. It begs the question, what happens when we quantify our relationships? From conceptual sketches to the final illustration, there was a lot of emphasis on the topics of the quantified self movement. The viewer is shown autonomous characters who are releasing data into a neverending grid that is organizing and sorting this information. It also introduces the viewer to the third party in the relationship: technology. This illustration depicts the flow of data from each individual and the relationship between them. We now have the power to rank and record aspects of our relationships that was never before possible.…

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02/01/2018

In Memoriam: Aviva Lynn Katz, M.D., M.A., FACS, FAAP

In Memoriam: Aviva Lynn Katz
by Margaret R. Moon, MD, MPH

Aviva Katz, MD, MA, passed away on January 17, 2018.  A strong and insightful voice for the ethical care of children and families, she was a shining light in the worlds of pediatric surgery and bioethics.

Her educational and academic accomplishments took her to the pinnacle of pediatric ethics leadership.  Dr. Katz was born in Brooklyn, graduated summa cum laude from CUNY-City College, and received her MD degree from

Image from Center for Bioethics & Health Law, University of Pittsburgh.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine (AOA). She later completed a Master of Arts degree in bioethics from the University of Pittsburgh.…

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01/17/2018

Appeal for Principle before Rule, and Uniform Application of Rules: A Case of Psychiatric Ethics

by Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div.

I am the editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (Macmillan, 2017), which is intended as a public service.  Even all the royalties are going into a fund for public good.  Yet there has been harsh pushback, with Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman leading the effort, criticizing the book for making a public diagnosis (see, for example, his commentary in Psychiatric News.

Yet this is based on several misconceptions.  Dr. Lieberman does not seem to recognize, for example, that we do not diagnose the president in the book (this is a common misunderstanding for those who have not read the book).  …

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This entry was posted in Ethics, Featured Posts, Politics, Privacy, Psychiatric Ethics, Public Health. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

01/11/2018

Managing Expectations: Delivering the Worst News in the Best Way?

This post also appears in the January 2018 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics

by Alyssa M. Burgart & David Magnus

In this issue, Weiss and Fiester’s (2018) “From ‘Longshot’ to ‘Fantasy’: Obligations to Patients and Families When Last-Ditch Medical Efforts Fail” calls attention to the weight of clinician word choice when discussing interventions in the pediatric population. Their work focuses on communication in a highly narrow slice of intervention options, from unlikely to work therapies to impossible ones. Regardless of a therapy’s low probability of success, physicians and parents suffer from forms of misconception: physicians tend to be overly optimistic in both their prognostic estimates and in their disclosure of illness severity, and parents tend to be highly likely to believe that their child is the one of many who will benefit from therapy.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Ethics, Editorial-AJOB, Featured Posts, Pediatrics. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

12/04/2017

The Idea of a “Standard View” of Informed Consent

This editorial is re-posted from the December 2017 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics. You can read more on this topic through the target article and open peer commentaries

by Tom L. Beauchamp, Ph.D.

The article in this issue of AJOB titled “Reframing Consent for Clinical Research: A Function-Based Approach” is a fresh and engaging way of thinking about how to handle several conceptual and moral problems about consent in clinical research. At times the authors seem entirely concerned with problems of informed consent, while at other times they are concerned with other forms of consent.…

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This entry was posted in Editorial-AJOB, Featured Posts, Informed Consent, Research Ethics and tagged . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

11/15/2017

Communicating about cancer: a need for a closer look at Patient Empowerment

This post is written in response to Ubel, Scherr and Fagerlin’s target article, “Empowerment Failure: How Shortcomings in Physician Communication Unwittingly Undermine Patient Autonomy” published in the November 2017 issue of The American Journal of Bioethics.


by Jonas Landers, MA

Ubel and colleagues describe what is obvious from much other academic and non-academic literature: Patient empowerment (PE) receives much attention – today and already for quite some time. This is true for PE not only regarding cancer, but particularly chronic conditions that require continuous efforts by those affected to deal with their situation. While both the attention for PE as well as its relevance are high, the authors rightly point towards its shortcomings in practice, i.e.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Health Care, OPC and tagged , . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

11/14/2017

Re-structuring the patient-provider communication process to empower patients

This post is written in response to Ubel, Scherr and Fagerlin’s target article, “Empowerment Failure: How Shortcomings in Physician Communication Unwittingly Undermine Patient Autonomy” published in the November 2017 issue of The American Journal of Bioethics.


by Susanne B. Haga, PhD

Most professional organizations have recommended a shift towards greater patient empowerment and shared decision-making. The result has been a data dump: An increase in the amount of information disclosed to patients.  For example, discussion of a prostate cancer diagnosis may include the grading and scoring, followed by discussion of three possible interventions, the risks and benefits of each, and information regarding recurrence rate, probability of adverse responses, costs, lost work time, follow-up care, and other information.…

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11/13/2017

Teaching Better Communication: A Bootcamp Experience

This post is written in response to Ubel, Scherr and Fagerlin’s target article, “Empowerment Failure: How Shortcomings in Physician Communication Unwittingly Undermine Patient Autonomy” published in the November 2017 issue of The American Journal of Bioethics.


by Haavi Morreim, JD, PhD and Mark C. Bugnitz, MD

Communication is one of the most important skillsets in healthcare. As Ubel et al. describe in their American Journal of Bioethics article so well, inadequate communication can effectively deprive patients of the medical path that best fits with their personal goals and values – potentially leaving them, as in the example of prostate cancer, with an outcome that may be deeply dissatisfying.…

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This entry was posted in OPC, Uncategorized. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

11/10/2017

Refocusing professional standards and leadership for patient empowerment

This post is written in response to Ubel, Scherr and Fagerlin’s target article, “Empowerment Failure: How Shortcomings in Physician Communication Unwittingly Undermine Patient Autonomy” published in the November 2017 issue of The American Journal of Bioethics.


by Stuart W Grande, PhD, MPA and William A. Nelson, PhD

Overcoming barriers to successful patient empowerment at the point of care is critical to improved patient-provider communications and ultimately to the realization of the dream of preference-sensitive care. In their recent article, “Empowerment Failure: How Shortcomings in Physician Communication Unwittingly Undermine Patient Autonomy,” Ubel and colleagues provide a provocative and engaging commentary on the “failures” of physicians to cultivate an organizational culture and clinical profession where true co-production can occur.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, Featured Posts, Health Care, Justice, OPC, professional ethics and tagged , . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.