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Author Archive: Susan Gilbert

About Susan Gilbert

09/20/2018

Let the Sun Shine into the Medical Ivory Tower

In 2012, I coauthored a case report about the successful use of dietary supplements in treating a case of male infertility in the American Family Physician. Before it was published, I was surprised to receive a communication asking me to disclose the fact that I had written a textbook on dietary supplements. It had not… Read more

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09/12/2018

Wrongful Death Suits for Frozen Embryos: A Bad Idea

Last March, 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos were lost at University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland when the temperature in cryogenic tanks spiked due to human error. Officials at University Hospitals have apologized repeatedly to the affected patients, and say that they are working to provide refunds, free services, and “emotional support.” A similar incident… Read more

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09/10/2018

England’s Abortion Law Catches Up

Last month, England announced that it would allow women to take the second pill required for a medical abortion–misoprostol–at home, rather than requiring them to travel to a clinic. The policy brings England in line with Scotland and Wales, as well as many other countries, and it eliminates significant obstacles to legal abortion for many… Read more

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09/06/2018

Ethical Perspectives on Advance Directives for Dementia

Four articles in the Hastings Center Report make an array of claims about  whether advance directives should or should not be used to instruct caregivers to withhold oral feeding of a person who reaches a designated stage of  dementia. I would like to advance some central ethical observations on the matter. A life can be… Read more

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09/03/2018

Avoiding Dementia, Causing Moral Distress

In “Avoiding Deep Dementia,” an essay in the current issue of the Hastings Center Report, legal scholar Norman Cantor explains why he has an advance directive that calls  for voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as a means of ending his life if he develops dementia and reaches a particular state of decline. Cantor’s essay… Read more

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08/24/2018

Immigrant Health and the Moral Scandal of the “Public Charge” Rule

A long-anticipated policy change proposed by the Trump administration that would count the use of many federally-subsidized programs against immigrants currently eligible to use them threatens public health and would undermine ethical practice in health professions and systems. The policy would expand the definition of a public charge, someone likely to become dependent on government… Read more

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08/10/2018

Inside a High School Bioethics Club

I founded a bioethics club at my high school in the beginning of my sophomore year. From a very young age, I always considered it important to do the “right thing.” However, as I grew older and was confronted with more complex situations, I realized that the “right thing” is not always obvious. I found… Read more

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07/24/2018

Newspaper Op-Eds Should Disclose Authors’ Industry Ties

Earlier this month, The Seattle Times published an op-ed by Samuel Browd, medical director of Seattle Children’s Sport Concussion Program, on the risks of brain injury in youth sports. Dr. Browd acknowledged troubling research on the dangers of repetitive brain trauma, but also emphasized that millions of children “have played contact sports without overt symptoms” and… Read more

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07/19/2018

Jahi McMath, Race, and Bioethics

Twice upon a time, there was a girl who died. The death certificate that New Jersey issued to 17-year-old Jahi McMath on June 22 was the second one issued for her. California issued McMath’s first death certificate in December 2013.  McMath had been admitted to Children’s Hospital Oakland on December 9 for a routine tonsillectomy… Read more

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07/16/2018

Envisioning Civic Palliative Care

Dying cannot be understood properly, or responded to well, without recourse to the connections between the dying experience and the larger social structures that make up a social and civic community. To develop this perspective further, it is important to envision a new kind of palliative care system that extends beyond professional expertise and a… Read more

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