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Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

08/17/2017

Search and destroy—or at least, select

This week’s issue of Nature carries a feature article on the explosion of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in China.  Because women are having children later in life, partly because of relaxation of the old one-child policy; because Chinese culture sees it as a duty to seek to bear healthy children; because some Chinese want to try to enable their kids to exploit some features of... // Read More »

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07/28/2017

Human genetic editing (engineering) is here

A “hat tip” again to Wesley Smith, who at the National Review Online blog, provided a link to this week’s report in the MIT Technology Review that the first editing of genes in human embryos in the US is underway—and apparently not yet formally published—at an academic center in Portland, Oregon.  Similar efforts have been undertaken in China, but US scientists have been a little... // Read More »

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07/20/2017

More about Charlie Gard

Dr. Robert Truog, the bioethicist and transplant physician who has pushed the envelope on the definition of death, has weighed in on the Charlie Gard case in a “Perspectives” piece that is generally available (i.e., without a subscription) from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).   By all means read it. Dr. Truog approaches the case from the standpoint of limiting medical research—indeed, that’s... // Read More »

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07/06/2017

Charlie Gard, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Limits of “Conscience”

I would venture that most bioethicists would agree it would be ethically permissible to remove life support and active care from little Charlie Gard, and let him die.   The hospital in Britain where he has been receiving his care wants to do that, and the courts agree.  But why do they insist on this action when his parents want to transfer him for another try... // Read More »

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06/30/2017

PAS in California: the first 6 months

In a 2016 data report, the California Department of Public Health says that in the first 6 months after California enacted the “End of Life Option Act,” 111 people committed suicide with the help of a doctor’s intentionally lethal prescription, as permitted under the terms of the law.  The time period reviewed was the last 6 months of 2016. The people in question are understood... // Read More »

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06/22/2017

Two Random Thoughts about Health Care Policy and Justice

I haven’t yet read the Senate Republicans’ draft health care bill, just out today.  Until I do I’m not going to comment about it directly. The matter is a bioethics concern solely from the perspective of justice, really.  What is the wisest, most just policy?  And here one is forced, I think, into a fairly utilitarian assessment of what approach provides the best outcome for... // Read More »

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06/15/2017

Single-Payer in California?

I’m not sure that even advocates of single-payer health care will find the spectacularly overreaching “Healthy California Act” (California Senate Bill 562) a good idea.  Follow the link and read the text yourself—I link, you decide. While the bill appears at points to read like a re-assertion of current federal programs, and perhaps some related private insurance (e.g., Medicare Advantage), in fact it looks to... // Read More »

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06/01/2017

Euthanasia in Canada: Early Returns

Last week’s New England Journal of Medicine carried a report from physicians in Toronto about early results implementing “Medical Assistance in Dying,” or “MAiD,” the preferred euphemism for doctor-assisted suicide or euthanasia, in Canada. “MAiD” became legally sanctioned throughout Canada in 2016.  It includes not only assisted suicide—where a doctor provides a patient with a drug prescription intended to be lethal if taken as directed—but... // Read More »

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05/19/2017

Mailbag

Brief comments on four short articles from this week, on disparate topics: James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute (meaning he is politically right of center) pleads in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for compromise between Republicans and Democrats on further healthcare policy reform.  Arguing that the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) may never pass, he believes that a better result... // Read More »

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05/11/2017

All we like SHEEFs, Part 2

Carrying on with last week’s musings… In thinking further, I think my attempt was confused by conflating the moral status of a SHEEF—a synthetic human entity with embryo-like features, something more than a clump of cells of human origin, but less than a human being—with reasons why I might want to hold that nobody should ever make certain sorts of SHEEFs. Again, SHEEFs are human,... // Read More »

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