April 9, 2014
A recent NPR All Things Considered story that is summarized on their web site talks about the large number of parents in Marin County in California who choose not to immunize their children by way of personal belief exemptions. This is in a county with a very high average standard of living, but has a high level of children not being immunized. The county recently... // Read More »
April 7, 2014
In The New Yorker this week Laura Parker reports on a new internet start-up that has a technological solution to a vexing old problem: mortality. Eterni.me has the tagline in huge font on its site, “Simply Become Immortal.” The CEO, Marius Ursache, says he is trying to solve the “incredibly challenging problem of humanity.” Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil have been arguing for a while now that... // Read More »
January 15, 2014
I finally rented “Man of Steel,” the most recent Superman movie. While academics too easily dress up our pop culture tastes as being culturally important, I try to keep an eye on Superman because I believe that the Superman legend is important in U.S. history. After all, he was our national hero coming out of […]
January 10, 2014
Loyola’s Neiswanger Institute Study Finds Medical Students Concerned about Becoming Insensitive When Dealing with a Dying Patient Click here to watch the video interview with Mark Kuczewski, PhD conducted by Randi Belisomo The imminent death of a patient is riddled with emotions for a patient and family as well as the medical team. A study based […]
December 10, 2013
Michael McCarthy is a PhD candidate at Loyola University Chicago, and has his Master’s in Theological Studies degree from Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Currently he is the Assistant Director for Clinical and Theological Ethics at the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics at the Stritch School of Medicine. Prior to joining the Bioethics Institute this past […]
November 26, 2013
With a Master’s degree in Public Health, a doctorate in philosophy and bioethics, Dr. Katherine Wasson is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University Chicago. In 2008, she joined the faculty of the Neiswanger Institute of Bioethics at the Stritch School of Medicine where she is also the Director of the Bioethics & Professionalism Honors Program. […]
October 9, 2013
World-famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, is now advocating in favor of physician-assisted death, in the video shown here. I am both very glad that he is still alive, so many years after developing his illness, and that he is advocating for those people...
August 28, 2013
How Future Doctors Think
Flanigan Lecture Explores How Medical Students Make Sense of Their World
What kind of physician do you want? Do you want someone who, out of respect for your autonomy, explains treatment options but makes no recommendations, leaving the decision up to you? Or do you want something more?
If you want something more, the research conducted by Felicia Cohn, Ph.D., who presented the 19th Annual Rosemary Flanigan Lecture on July 30, 2013, underscores the importance of knowing how your doctor thinks and helping him or her to understand your story. Patterns in Their Stories
When Dr. Cohn taught medical ethics at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine, she noticed patterns in the stories medical students shared concerning conflicts they encountered between their personal values and professional obligations and what they did about them. Her colleague at UCI, Humanities Director Johanna Shapiro, wondered if there might be a way to analyze and identify themes from these stories as told in 299 papers Dr. Cohn had collected.
“The themes of the students’ narratives really did fall quite neatly into six categories,” said Dr. Cohn.
• Restitution (38%) - Appealed to a moral norm or ethical principle.
• Compromise (16%) – Conceded core values.
• Journey (16%) – Grew through experience.
• Witnessing (13%) – Felt empathy but stood by and watched.
• Resistance (9%) – Rejected professional ethics in favor of personal views
• No Problem (2%) – Never experienced any conflict.
“I thought the papers would tell a lot more stories about witnessing and compromise, which were the type of stories that the students mostly shared in class,” said Dr. Cohn. “But it turned out that restitution – appeal to principle – was the most common story they told. And more often than not the principle the students appealed to was autonomy. In other words, it’s okay for me to do this because it’s what the patient said he wants.”Autonomy or Guidance?
Dr. Cohn explained that this emphasis on autonomy in modern medical culture has important implications for both healthcare professionals and their patients.
“If physicians really think what a patient is doing is wrong but feel that respecting autonomy takes precedence, they’re going to be spending a lot of time doing things that they think are wrong. Then they’re miserable and we go and ask them to be nice to patients. I can’t help but think that’s where a lot of the dissatisfaction and even burnout from healthcare professionals comes from.”
Conversely, for the patient who wants more than options from their physician – who wants their physician to consider how their illness and treatment will integrate into their life and make honest recommendations based on that – then the doctor who tells a restitution story probably isn’t the doctor for them.
Learn more at http://www.PracticalBioethics.org
May 7, 2013
Waiting for medical records “after discharge” is of no help.
Reviewing medical records in the hospital allows the patient and/or a surrogate decision maker to obtain the greatest amount of information pos...
October 28, 2011
The issue that lurks right over the horizon of possibility is whether increasing complexification in generatively encoded “intelligent machines” could instantiate some form of consciousness. I argue that the most probable answer is “yes”. The system would become auto-referential, and … Continue reading →