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Author Archive: Neil Skjoldal

About Neil Skjoldal

04/03/2017

On Slippery Slopes

In a recent commentary ethicist Arthur Caplan discusses the difference between physician-assisted dying (which he finds morally permissible) and physician-assisted suicide (which he finds troubling). He notes that “there are some very disturbing developments” in Belgium and Holland. Instead of having a terminal illness as a trigger, these countries have a different standard: “Are you suffering and is it irremediable?” Caplan notes, “During the past year,... // Read More »

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03/06/2017

On Cuba’s Birth Rate

Last month The Washington Post reported that “Cuba is giving parental leave to the grandparents of newborns, the country’s latest attempt to reverse its sagging birthrate and defuse a demographic time bomb.” Upon closer look, the low Cuban birth rate has been a cause of concern for years. Of course, fewer babies spell demographic trouble. The population on the island country is aging and if things continue, there... // Read More »

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02/06/2017

Bioethics & SCOTUS Appointment

Some of us had hoped that bioethics would have been an issue in the presidential election of 2016, but that was not to be. Now, less than three weeks into the Trump presidency, bioethics appears to have resurfaced in the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court. Amidst all the media coverage of his appointment, The Washington Post, among... // Read More »

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12/31/2016

Happy New Year!

As I sit to write this blog, 2016 is nearing its end. It seems like many people are quite happy about this prospect. I must admit, the year became rather wearying at points with all of its ups and downs. I took a few moments to reflect upon my blogs from the past year. Zika, physician-assisted death, and pharmaceutical prices were some of things I... // Read More »

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10/24/2016

Race & Physician Assisted Suicide

Is physician-assisted suicide only for white people? That is a question that came to mind when reading a recent Washington Post article by Fenit Nirappil that reports on the proposed “Right to Die” law in Washington, D.C.  The law is drawing opposition from members of the African American community. The Post article quotes a Georgetown Law School professor, Patricia King, who states, “Historically, African Americans have not... // Read More »

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10/10/2016

Christianity and Physician-Assisted Suicide (2)

October 10, 2016 A few blogs ago, I discussed a Time op-ed that spoke of a Christian perspective to physician assisted suicide. Understanding that Christian is a hopelessly ambiguous term, I wanted to see if there was anything noticeably Christian about the op-ed. My reflection at the time was that any advocate of PAS – Christian, religious, spiritual, or secular—could have written the piece. The... // Read More »

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09/25/2016

Zika and Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Just last week, I received a call from a pollster.  It’s election season and I live in a hotly contested ‘swing state,’ so I wasn’t surprised.   What surprised me were the questions I was asked, mostly about the Zika virus—its spread and possible prevention.  One question especially caught my attention:  Are you in favor of genetically modified (GM) mosquitos?   Bioethics in a poll question!  I... // Read More »

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09/12/2016

On Genetic Data

In case you’ve run out of things to worry about, Kayte Spector-Bagdady gives us another in a recent post entitled “Why you should worry about the privatization of genetic data.” Spector-Bagdady compares President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative with the work of the direct-to-consumer testing company, 23andMe.  Her concern is that “private companies don’t necessarily have to follow the same regulations regarding access to their data... // Read More »

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08/29/2016

Bioethics & Pharmaceutical Prices

Just last week a man walked into my office holding a vile of insulin.  He told me its cost and how much it has increased over time.  He expressed genuine fear that people would not be able to afford it much longer and that they would eventually die because of it. Later that day, I noticed that the Washington Post and other media outlets were... // Read More »

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08/15/2016

Christians and Physician Assisted Suicide

In my experience working with terminally ill patients over the past seven years, I have often seen people of the Christian faith go all out in the ICU, wanting “everything done” for a terminally ill loved one. In these circumstances, when I speak with family members of the patient, they tell me they will continue to pray for a miracle to happen. As a person... // Read More »

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