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Author Archive: Craig Klugman


Dare to Fail

by Craig M. Klugman


  1. The fact of becoming exhausted or running short, giving way under trial, breaking down in health, declining in strength or activity, etc.
  2. The act of failing to effect one’s purpose; want of success; an instance of this. (Oxford English Dictionary 2015, entry 67663)

There is not enough failure in our modern world. I am not talking about the kind of failure that comes from not trying or being neglectful, but rather the failure that comes from working hard to achieve a goal and not making the mark.

If one does not fail, then one has not tried to excel.…

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Raging Against the Dying of the Light

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When do we die? The legal and medical answer is we are dead when we either (a) have experienced total loss of all brain function or (b) cessation of cardiopulmonary activity. The biological answer is that we are dead when as an organism we have lost our ability for integrated function—that is enough parts have ceased to function that the organism cannot be put back together again. That moment we call “death” is in a real way, quite arbitrary. It takes much longer for our tissues and cells to die once the integrity is lost.

I am in the second half of the academic quarter, teaching a course on Death & Dying.…

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Cost of Compassionate Use is Simply Too High

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Company announced that it has contracted with New York University’s Division of Medical Ethics to assemble an external Compassionate-Use Advisory Committee (CompAC) to examine requests for investigational new drugs (INDs) outside of clinical trials. Arthur Caplan will lead this group, which will be composed of bioethicists, physicians, and patient advocates. The goal of this group is to provide recommendations on which patients should be given compassionate use access to experimental drugs.

This step is a reaction to increasing publicity on compassionate use as well as 17 states having passed “Right to Try” laws that allow residents of those states to directly contact drug companies to request experimental drugs.…

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AJOB Announces Two New Editors

The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) is delighted to announce two new additions to its esteemed Editorial Team.

John Lantos, Associate Editor

John Lantos, MD, is Director of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Bioethics Center in Kansas City.  Prior to moving to Kansas City, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, where he was also Chief of General Pediatrics and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Dr. Lantos has held many leadership positions in bioethics and pediatrics.  He is past president of both the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities as well as the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. …

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Why Doctors Should Audio Record Patient Encounters

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In Dave Eggers’ novel, The Circle, a behemoth tech company makes it popular for people to wear cameras and to live broadcast every minute of their lives (except for time in the bathroom). The goal is to remove secrets and to improve behavior because if you thought you were being watched all the time, you would always behave well (drawing on Bentham and Foucault’s ideas of the panopticon).

Much has been written about using cameras to protect ourselves. To combat racial injustice and claims of abuse, many police departments have adopted the use of body cams for officers.…

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Designer Embryos: The Future is Now

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ’t! (Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 5, Scene 1.

Nature News on Wednesday reported a group of Chinese researchers have successful genetically engineered a human embryo.

Researchers used “non-viable” embryos from fertility clinics. These embryos had an extra set of chromosome, having been fertilized by two sperm and containing three nuclei. Such embryos were chosen because of the impossibility of them gestating into a human being. The team then used the enzyme CRISPR/Cas9 which permit scientists to snip out genes and insert new ones.…

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Figure 1: Global Medical Education and Collaboration in Real Time

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was teaching in medical schools I recall a case where a student was reprimanded for breaking patient confidentiality by uploading a picture of surgery to his Facebook profile. This incident led to educational interventions about the appropriate use of social media in medicine. The short guideline was, “Never upload photos of patients onto the internet.” Now, physicians are encouraged to upload patient pictures through a service called Figure1, which has been described as “Instagram for doctors.”

Figure 1 is part of Medicine 2.0, using online technology to enable collaboration and interaction. Rather than simply reading about a medical condition, a user is able to comment, participate and offer advise.…

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Are religious research subjects a vulnerable population?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A recent study in the journal Psychology Science found that when people are thinking about God, they are more likely to state a willingness to participate in nonmoral,° risky behaviors such as skydiving, substance abuse, and speeding. To reach their conclusion, the researchers asked online participants to undertake a short writing task. Half of the participants were asked to incorporate words that reminded them of God and half did not.

The participants then took one of several scenario tests where they were asked their willingness to participate in risky behaviors. Those who had seen God-words were more likely to list willingness to participate in risky recreational behaviors.…

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Is a gift of ribs “slightly unethical” in the physician-patient relationship?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, a physician tells the story of an underserved patient who owned a rib joint. The patient would bring ribs whenever he had an appointment. And once a year, the patient would come to the hospital just to bring a smoked Thanksgiving turkey to the physician.

The patient lacks insurance and thus is not able to get a badly needed hip replacement. As the story continues, the physician contacts an orthopedic surgeon in another health system in hopes of getting treatment for the rib-producing patient. After 4 years, a spot for a pro bono surgery opens and the “orthopedic colleague” sees the patient, who is now in intense pain and desperate need of a new hip.…

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Abortion Wars: Arizona Mandates Unscientific “Truths”

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Arizona legislature has apparently gone through medical school and graduated. They have passed a new law of the land. A person in Arizona is no longer permitted to buy health insurance on the health exchange if the plan provides coverage for abortion (except for the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger).

A second provision of the law is what has troubled most people. The law now requires that a physician tell his or her patient that a medically induced abortion can be reversed. When having a medicated abortion, a woman takes mifepristone (RU-486) and several days later, a dose of misprostol.…

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