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Author Archive: Ann Mongoven

About Ann Mongoven


by Ann Mongoven, Ph.D., MPH

As COVID-19 surges across the country, more hospitals face the agonizing question:  whom shall we try to save when we cannot save all?  The question is particularly acute for allocation of ventilators and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), a support system for acute critical kidney failure.

In the absence of federal guidelines, rationing policies are being developed by individual hospitals or regional collaborations. Many of these policies have been called into question by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) statementthat age cannot be considered. The OCR blanketly equates any consideration of age with morally indefensible age-discrimination.…

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by Ann Mongoven, Ph.D.

[Editor’s note:  Breaking news about a new data contract between Amazon and the U.K’s National Health Service underscores the need for ethical reflection on commercial/non-profit collaborations in health data analytics.  Unlike the Google-Ascension collaboration discussed below, the NHS intends to remove patient-identifiers from records shared with Amazon. Yet questions remain about whether there are any limits on Amazon’s ability to use the data in the development of its own commercial products.]

Informed by a Google employee-whistleblower, the Wall Street Journal recently broke a story about a controversial collaboration between Catholic healthcare giant Ascension Health and Google.…

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by Ann Mongoven, Ph.D.

A federal judge in Texas declared all of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The ACA remains the law of the land as the case moves to appeal. The ruling directly threatens popular ACA protections such as the ban on discrimination against pre-existing conditions, the allowance of children on parents’ policies until age 26, and a minimum acceptable benefits-package. Democratic lawmakers are in an uproar opposing the decision while Republicans remain largely silent. Striking mid-term election results on Medicaid expansion suggest party lines on health care are changing in ways that could enable new bi-partisan dialogue.

The Trump administration continuously repeats that 28 million Americans cannot afford health insurance due to Obamacare.…

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by Ann Mongoven, PhD, MPH

Recent controversies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center raise ethical questions about medical research that deserve public attention. Jose Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., a famed cancer physician and researcher, resigned as chief medical officer following reports that he failed to disclose millions of dollars received from drug companies. Baselga claimed the lack of disclosure was unintentional. Then the New York Times and Pro Publica published reports raising questions about whether data-sharing between Sloan and biotechnology start-up Paige.AI constitutes a conflict of interest. Paige seeks to develop artificial intelligence programs that will improve pathology diagnostics.  Prominent board members and physicians within Sloan, a non-profit hospital and research center, invested in Paige.…

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by Ann Mongoven, Ph.D. MPH

Another Mother’s Day is here.   Another candle is lit to honor the unknown birthparents of my Chinese-American daughter, adopted as an infant and now a young woman. She aches wondering about her birthparents. I ache being unable to convey the wonder of her to them.

In a chilling scene in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the fertile handmaids—whose children have been stolen—become objects of international trade. After an environmental disaster results in widespread sterility, women’s fertility becomes a commodity bartered within a global dystopia. We who read and watch recoil.

Then we clamor off to the soccer games and music recitals of our children, who came to us from the bodies of others in other corners of the globe.…

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by Ann Mongoven, Ph.D., MPH

All hearts go out to the Gard family in this time of grief for their son, Charlie.

The legal wrangling over Charlie’s care became a political football–unfortunately, about many things having little to do with Charlie.

Despite the involvement of Pope Francis, this was not a case about abortion rights or the sanctity of human life. Catholic tradition warns both that quality-of-life arguments can dehumanize the disabled, and that unduly burdensome medical care can become assaultive. There is no “Catholic” view of the case, and Catholic moral theologians disagree about it.

Despite the involvement of Donald Trump, this was not a case about the relative merits of the U.K.…

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