Tag: bioethics

Blog Posts (286)

January 1, 2016

Religious Liberty and Human Dignity

A December 30th AP article relates the results of a poll that asked respondents about their views of religious liberty. The lead paragraph reads, “Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.” The article goes on to detail the percentages of people... // Read More »
December 31, 2015

“Shrinking” IRBs and Cutting-Edge Bioethics

A recent conversation from my IRB work—for several reasons, I must limit the details of the case: An IRB had received, for review and approval, a research protocol for gene editing of human embryos obtained from an IVF clinic.  The embryos would be at about the 150-cell stage—an early stage at which some (incorrectly, as I understand the science) believe a fertilized, dividing-and-differentiating zygote has... // Read More »
December 24, 2015

A Tale of Two Friends

I am thinking of two friends from church with advanced cancer, both men about my age, 60-ish. One has a high-grade brain tumor, persistent after standard therapy and more than one experimental new treatment.  He’s a fighter, looking for something new to try.  He’s an ex-Marine, famously fit at baseline, willing and able to tolerate some toxicity.  He also tells me that he is trusting... // Read More »
December 23, 2015

Christmas and suffering

Christmas is a time that most of us associate with happy things. It is a time of gathering with family, giving gifts, and singing together. It is a time of children’s hopes and smiles. We light candles representing hope, love, joy, and peace. However, Christmas speaks to suffering as well. Those of us who practice medicine spend much of our time caring for those who... // Read More »
December 19, 2015

Medical Care and the Boundaries of Technology

In a recent post entitled “A View from the Other Side: Roboticized Care,” I recounted my recent encounters with the healthcare system from the perspective of a patient. Some of those observations deserve further reflection. Technology is, indeed, a wonderful gift, benefiting mankind in innumerable ways. But technology has transgressed its boundaries largely because we have failed to set or enforce boundaries for it. From... // Read More »
December 18, 2015

Jahi McMath “at 15″

One year ago today (12/17/14), Steve Phillips posted on this blog on the approximate one year anniversary (Dec. 12) of the declaration that then 13-year old Jahi McMath was brain dead, after complications of, of all things, what one would think should have been a simple tonsillectomy.  At the time, she was described as having her vital functions artificially maintained, as her parents pressed their... // Read More »
December 16, 2015

Undiscussed issues in the debate over human germline genetic modification

Jon Holmlund’s 12/10 post on the use of somatic cell gene modification to treat sickle cell disease and two recent articles in The Telegraph have me thinking about human germline genetic modification again. One of the points in Jon’s post was that somatic cell genetic modification does not have the ethical problems of germ line genetic modification. The Telegraph articles discuss a group that has... // Read More »
December 11, 2015

Ethical Human Gene Editing for Sickle Cell Anemia

The biggest ethical worry about human gene editing is that it will be used to make long-lasting, heritable changes at the embryo stage or on germ (sperm or egg) cells.  Posts earlier this year have asked whether we should envision a scenario in which human germline gene editing is accepted in a limited number of cases, with the treatment of sickle cell anemia being proposed... // Read More »
December 8, 2015

A Season of Advent

During this season of Advent, I have been participating in a Bible study where we are studying and considering the first first two chapters of Luke. Yesterday’s reading from Luke 1 really struck me in a way it had not before, and I thought I would share my thoughts for this weeks post. The passage from Luke is included below: Luke 1:39-55 (ESV): 39 In... // Read More »
December 4, 2015

Human Gene Editing: Half Speed Ahead?

A 3-day international conference on human gene editing has ended, with the conferees reportedly having issued a statement declaring it would be “irresponsible” to try to initiate a human pregnancy with an embryo that had some genes edited by modern techniques, much less create a human embryo using sperm or an egg that had been gene-edited.  In the latter case, the changes would be heritable,... // Read More »