by Steven H Miles, MD
The Nazi Doctors at Nuremberg in 1945 brought enormous attention on medical war crimes. The unearthing of complicity of United States physicians and psychologists with interrogational torture during the war on terror of at the beginning of the 21st century reignited attention to participation of physicians in human rights crimes. In retrospect, two aspects of that renewed attention deserved more scrutiny. There was a lack of attention to international context for the United States experience and, against this background, the fact that no US physicians were held accountable for complicity with torture was as noteworthy as their collaboration with that practice.…
by Steven H. Miles, MD and Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.
Nicole Mone Arteaga was trying to get pregnant. It had been difficult for her. She had a miscarriage. Then, unexpectedly, she got pregnant again. Because of her miscarriage history, she cooperated with weekly medical monitoring, On June 19th, she was told, according to news interviews, that the fetus no longer had a heartbeat. Her doctor offered her a choice between a medication to cause the uterus to expel the fetal remains or a surgical procedure. She decided on the drug option so that she could avoid a surgical procedure and remain at home.…
by Steven Miles, MD
The following remarks were delivered on April 27, 2017 upon Steven Miles’ retirement
Bioethics is not scholastic theorizing. It must venture outside the walls of Academic Health Centers to speak on behalf of marginalized and silenced people including those without access to affordable health care, prisoners and enemies, nursing home residents and refugees. Bioethics is about our ethos—how we live.
No one who reveres Universities ever really leaves. I set out as an itinerant emeritus carrying a backpack stuffed with University’ values and tools.
- The practice of medicine has been my liberal arts education. Intimate moments with those in profound despair schooled me.
by Steven H. Miles, MD
A friend of mine is dying of metastatic cancer. She does not have long to live; she will possibly die before the end of this year. Throughout her life, she actively participated in civic life. She donated her time and money to charities and political campaigns. She did not shirk a call to jury duty as many do. Disability from her illness has constrained her public life. She watches television when she is not too tired. She follows a prominent local race and a race for national office. This week, I will take her to city hall to cast her ballot for the 2016 election.…
by Steven H. Miles, MD
In December 2013, a Hearing Panel for the Health Professions Council of South Africa found Wouter Basson MD culpable for unprofessional conduct because of his work to produce chemical weapons, to medically assist rendition by commandos (kidnappings), and to provide cyanide containing suicide capsules to Special Forces’ operatives leaving for clandestine meetings. I served as an expert witness for the prosecution in the Basson matter in the area of medical ethics and military medicine.
The French philosopher-sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) is partly responsible for the confusion about strategic military suicide. He defined suicide as “all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result.” He did not distinguish a soldier whose actions entail accepting the high probability (or even certainty) of death in order to accomplish some task from actions in which the soldier’s chooses to die during the course of a military operation.…