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Author Archive: Craig Klugman


The Price of Academic Freedom

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Alice Dreger resigned from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine/Memorial Hospital this week. The slash is because last year the hospital and the medical school merged. For the Medical Humanities & Bioethics program at Northwestern, that has meant a tumultuous year as it is readjusted to the new landscape.

Alice Dreger is a medical historian and advocate. Her position at the Medical Humanities & Bioethics program at Northwestern was a part-time, non-tenure track faculty member at Northwestern. She was working there when she had a Guggenheim Fellowship and worked there during the release of her latest book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, a book that looks at freedom in science and censorship.…

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The Private as Public: What it Means for Bioethics

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Today I was sitting in an outdoor coffee house and listened to the sounds around me. I heard the jackhammer from the street construction and the beep of a truck backing up. There was the gentleman working on his computer at the next table, playing music from his cell phone, out loud for everyone to hear. There were two women behind me (one actually moved so that she was next to me) speaking in very loud voices while one was convincing the other to use her as a web designer (and complaining about their boyfriends). There was a group of people who had brought in food from elsewhere to sit in this outdoor space and not purchasing any items from the business where they sat: They ate, placed their feet on the furniture and smoked.…

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…So That We Know How to Live

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This Spring Quarter I had the honor of creating and teaching a new course at my university: HLTH 341 Death & Dying. Most readers of this blog in bioethics probably work in the medical school environment. When I taught in a medical school we provided lessons and experiences in giving bad news and hospice. We may have even taught briefly on the diagnostic tools to diagnose death. In one session put on by the Palliative Care program (thanks Sandra), students met with survivors and learned about death from the family perspective and how palliative care informed that experience.…

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The Stanford Prison Experiment film: An Essential Teaching Tool

By Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In teaching research ethics, there are a few “classic cases” that we offer students as examples of where human subject research went wrong: Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, the Nazi medical experiments, Willowbrook Hepatitis Experiments, human radiation experiments, and (now) the Guatemala syphilis study, among others. When discussing social science examples, the two studies that are usually taught at Milgram’s obedience studies and Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment.

As an undergraduate at Stanford, my Psychology 101 teacher was Philip Zimbardo. He proudly talked to us about his famous experiment. The man was a great lecturer. In a classroom of 300 students, he held our attention as a master showman.…

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Cecil the Lion: Can Health Care Professionals Ethically Be Sport Hunters

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In James Patterson’s book (and now TV miniseries) Zoo, the animals have acquired an intelligence that removes their fear of humans. More specifically, the animals attack humans, driven by radio waves from technology. In character’s belief, the animals are banding together to take care of the greatest threat to their existence—us. With that perspective, I examine the social media uproar over a dentist killing Cecil the Lion.

The social media buzz started not because a man hunted a lion, but because he happened to shoot a beloved lion. Cecil was a 13-year-old lion who lived in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.…

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Investigating Two Claims Against Planned Parenthood: Center of Medical Progress’s Secret Videos

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Before you being reading, I have a disclaimer: Growing up, my mother worked for Planned Parenthood. As a nurse, she practiced in their clinics offering well women services, counseling, and contraception. After many years, she went on to direct their clinic’s in vitro fertilization program. I also heard the word “Planned Parenthood” stated with a quick northeastern accent. Said that way, as a child, I thought the place was called “Plant Parenthood” and wondered what plants had to do with women’s health.

Ironically, despite the numerous bomb threats while she worked there, her clinic did not perform abortions.…

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On the Origins of Research Ethics: China and the West

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D

When I was a graduate student, I was fortunate to be one of five students chosen by the China Medical Board to attend an international bioethics conference between the U.S. and China in Beijing. We listened to talks on the philosophical bases of ethics in each country and culture. The U.S. laid its philosophical history on the doorsteps of the ancient Greek traditions such as Plato and Aristotle as well as later European thinkers such as Kant, Mill, and Bentham. The Chinese delegates talked of Confucius and Lao Tzu. We toured a hospital and a medical school.…

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A Doctor Lied & Patients Suffered

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was graduating from college, I had a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. At least, that’s what she told her friends. She would ask to crash on a living room couch because she was scared to be alone, or ask for a ride home from work because she felt too weak to complete her full shift. Some things, however, did not add up. We were not allowed to tell her parents. She said she was getting chemo but had no side effects at all. Some people became suspicious about whether she was sick and drifted away from caring.…

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In California, Vaccination is the Law

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This week, California governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 277. This law mandates vaccinations for all children who attend a school (public or private) in the state. The only exemption is when a physician certifies that a vaccine “is not considered safe for the child.” The big change in this new law is the removal of the “personal belief” exemption from vaccination. No longer can a religious or philosophical belief exempt a child from receiving an immunization.

California has been at ground zero for conversations about vaccination. Earlier this year, the Disneyland park in Anaheim, California was the center of a massive national measles outbreak among unvaccinated children.…

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Can An Advance Directive Ever Justify Cessation of Eating in an Alzheimer’s Patient?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Margot Bentley did what end-of-life care advocates say we should all do—she completed an advance directive. She wrote hers in 1991 when she was working as a nurse and stated that she did not resuscitation, surgery, respiratory support, or nutrition and hydration.

Today she is at the center of a legal battle in Canada. At age 83, she has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the last 16 years. She is non-responsive. Her family wants to follow her wishes by stopping feeding and taking her home to die comfortably. The long-term care facility where she resides said no and put an order in her chart to call police if the family tried to remove her.…

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