Tag: bioethics

Blog Posts (119)

October 3, 2014

On a recent secular defense of human dignity

Over at his “Human Exceptionalism” blog, and in an essay in First Things, Wesley Smith recently gave a shout out to the work of Charles Foster of Oxford University, for his reassertion of the notion of human dignity.  The specific context is a discussion by Foster of “Dignity and the Ownership and Use of Body Parts” in the October 2014 issue of the Cambridge Quarterly... // Read More »
September 30, 2014

An Ethics of Complexity

As a long-time member of the military medical community, this article caught my eye: “1 in 5 Army hospital leaders suspended in 2 years: What’s behind the discipline?” The reasons for these suspensions are known only at the highest level of command, and I suspect that there they will remain. But such a circumstance is significant, and we must ask for the reasons, to determine... // Read More »
September 28, 2014

Fair-minded Medicine

“Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:9 I attended a funeral this past week, and I spoke with a relative who is an attorney practicing patent and intellectual-property (IP) law.  Since he works closely with science and technology, I mentioned Joe Gibes’s... // Read More »
September 25, 2014

So when do you hope to die?

Perhaps you’ve seen it already:  the ever-more-present Dr. Emanuel has a piece in The Atlantic entitled “Why I hope to die at 75.”  Follow the link and you can read it for free online. I confess that, upon learning of the title and the author, my mind was flooded with wisecracks.  I publicly repent of those and will repeat none of them here. I don’t... // Read More »
September 24, 2014

Wit, conflict of interest, and John Donne

Last weekend the Taylor University theater department performed Wit, a Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Margaret Edson in 1993. I had the interesting experience of being the medical consultant for the play. The main character Vivian is a professor of English literature who specializes in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne and is dying of metastatic ovarian cancer. The entire play takes place in... // Read More »
September 22, 2014

Epistemological Uncertainty & Autonomy

In the September 17, 2014 issue of JAMA Scott Stonington, MD, PhD wrote a remarkable piece entitled “Whose Autonomy?” This short piece should be required reading for everyone in medicine. Stonington discusses the idea of family roles and puts this in light of his anthropological work in northern Thailand. He uses his fieldwork experience to introduce the idea that, when ill, people may not express... // Read More »
September 20, 2014

Population Health: the New Medicine

Below is a modified copy of my response to an informational article that was recently sent by the CEO of our hospital to our medical staff. Many suggested that I make this letter available publicly. Little do they know that I do so on a regular basis! “I want to thank our CEO for forwarding this article to us while simultaneously pointing out its significance... // Read More »
September 19, 2014

Antidepressants: Society duped?

Has our society has been duped about antidepressant medication? It’s estimated that around 10% of the American population is taking an antidepressant. However, a growing body of research seems to indicate that antidepressant medication isn’t much better in the treatment of depression than placebo (sugar pills). The treatment effects of antidepressants may be statistically significant when compared to placebo, but not clinically significant. In other words, if you... // Read More »
September 17, 2014

Ebola and the cultural understanding of disease

Last night the student group that works with the Center for Ethics at Taylor University sponsored a discussion of the ethical issues related to the current Ebola outbreak in western Africa. They discussed issues including when it can be appropriate to use an experimental treatment that has not been tested for safety in humans, how to decide who should be given an experimental treatment that... // Read More »
September 15, 2014

Google Maps and Moral Authority

At a recent conference held for the leadership of state veterinary medical associations, I had the opportunity to listen to the sobering economic statistics that veterinary medicine faces. These are not, by the way, altogether new or shocking (I’ve listened to them and read them well before the average new graduate entered the profession with the 2.7:1 debt to income ratio of the Class of... // Read More »