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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

About Craig Klugman


by Craig Klugman, Ph.D

In the last few weeks, you may have heard from central and left-leaning media that Scott Atlas, a radiologist who appears to be leading White House COVID policy, has managed to make “herd immunity” the official federal response to COVID-19.

If you prefer right-leaning media, then you may have heard of the Great Barrington Declaration, an international document led by three scientists that urges against lock downs, quarantine, and isolation, and instead suggests letting young people get COVID to help build herd immunity. “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In the mythology of the founding of bioethics, we learn that this nascent field sprang whole from the forehead of Zeus to slay the paternalism that was practiced by the children of Apollo. Less dramatically, our founding legends hold that bioethics came into existence in large part to bring a turn to autonomy where the patient was a partner in medical decision-making rather than being am object that a physician treated. Similar to other civil rights movements of the late 1960s/early 1970s, bioethics sought to empower the patient to have a voice and control over their body.…

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by Craig Klugman

In a startling whistleblower report, Dawn Looten who is a licensed nurse practitioner at the Irwin County (GA) Detention Center (ICDC) stated that patients were denied COVID tests, medical records were altered and destroyed, and most disturbingly, that a very high number of hysterectomies were performed on detained immigrant women who may not have understood what was being done to them. Nurse Wooten is represented in this matter by the Government Accountability Project and Project South which spoke to others with knowledge of the prison. A detained immigrant reported on 5 women who had undergone hysterectomies who “reacted confused” about what had been done to them: “When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp.

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy. – WHO, ICD 11

For the last six months, faculty have been under extraordinary pressure. In my own case, we were given 48 hours to transition to online finals to end one quarter and then had 10 days to move from planned in-person classes to completely on-line versions (a.k.a. …

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Since 1927, the agency now known as the Food and Drug Administration became the federal agency responsible for the safety of food for human consumption, drugs, and  therapeutic devices. Started in 1946, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention opened to fight communicable diseases (starting with malaria) in the U.S. and around the world. Together, these two agencies are among the most respected scientific institutions in the world. At least they were until the last few weeks. 

On August 23, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn announced emergency approval for convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19. This concept is an old one—harvest the plasma of people who have recovered from an infection to capture the T cells and antibodies their bodies created and infuse those into a sick person to give their immune system a jump start on fighting the virus.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week I was speaking with a friend who works at another university and we were discussing one of their faculty and their progress for tenure. This faculty member is a brilliant philosopher whose area of specialization is in high demand right now. They have been invited to give multiple talks for different organizations and institutions as well as have been writing a number of OpEds. My friend’s concern was that none of these efforts would help their colleague earn tenure. The response that leapt out of my mouth was, “Perhaps the problem is not with their activities but that what counts for tenure is racist, sexist, ableist, and ageist”.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Since mid-March I have been part of my university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, I served on the “Response” task force and that transformed into our “Re-Opening” group. I’ve been working on how do we safely have students in dorms, bring people up and down the elevators in the downtown towers, enforce a mask ban, how to do contact tracing, and more. After months of working on the minutiae of having people on campus I have come to one conclusion, we should not be bringing people back to campus.

Back in March, my university gave 48 hours’ notice to move final exams online and teach the entire Spring Quarter “remotely”.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Tommye Austin is senior vice president and chief nursing officer at University Hospital in San Antonio. Like most Texas hospitals, UH has been hard hit by the pandemic in recent weeks and PPE is in short supply. Nurse Austin created a crafty N95 replacement mask that uses cloth fabric and air conditioning filters. She is passionate about masks and people protecting themselves from COVID-19. She regularly posts on social media and has spoken to the media about face coverings.

In late June, to further help her city and social media followers understand why wearing a mask is so important, Austin made a video of recording of her intubation.…

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This essay is part of a 2-part series on the burdens placed on black faculty in academic bioethics. The second part, by Keisha Ray, Ph.D. can be read by clicking here.

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

During the beginning of the #METOO movement, female academics named those who had harassed them, universities created (or expanded) reporting structures and formed committees to help improve conditions for women on campus, and movements were made to try new ways of working such as restorative justice. Most of this work, however, was done by women, extra work they took on to improve the university environment.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

“What can bioethics do to help with the racial injustice” is a refrain that I wish I heard more in bioethics. When COVID-19 entered the stage, bioethicists—myself included—tripped over each to put out special journal issues, write OpEds, work with the media, set up webinars, and advise governments at all levels. The response from the George Floyd killing and protests against racial injustice have been quieter.

Racism is a health issue. Racism is an ethics issue.

Narrative ethics seeks to understand the stories of a case. Who are the characters? Who is the antagonist and protagonist? What language is used?…

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