Tag: bioethics

Blog Posts (76)

July 8, 2014

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: A thin margin indeed

The recent Supreme Court decision, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, has been hailed as a victory for religious rights, but in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion there are ominous signs for bioethics. First, no commentator so far has mentioned that the Supreme Court decision implies that the only legally viable objection to underwriting abortifacient interventions must be religious in nature. The thin margin of decision by... // Read More »
July 8, 2014

Persons, Personhood, and Primates

Back in December of 2013, Steve Phillips wrote a splendid blog on the legal case in New York that sought to establish rights for non-human primates (specifically, chimpanzees) based upon the concept of personhood. It captured the essence of the issue effectively enough that, with uncharacteristic wisdom and restraint, I felt no need to add to the discussion. This issue is not, of course, closed... // Read More »
July 3, 2014

Musing About the Hobby Lobby Decision

I am in the camp that applauds this week’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case.  But of course others disagree, and I was not surprised to see that there is alarm on the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine.   A “Perspectives” article written by two attorneys (one with a bioethics degree) and one M.D. includes two graphs, in particular, that I... // Read More »
June 30, 2014

The Oz Effect

My wife remembers when Dr.  Oz was just a handsome and engaging cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She graduated from Columbia P&S the same year Mehmet Oz appeared on Oprah and began his journey to being a household name. Dr. Oz has become so popular and pervasive that any “health supplement” he endorses on his show sees a huge boost in sales: the... // Read More »
June 29, 2014

Jimmy Savile and the Hospitals

This week, a report released by the British government details sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and its relationship to NHS hospitals.  Remarkably, the blockbuster entertainer went decades escaping investigation.  Even in his later years when he faced some scrutiny, Savile was never prosecuted for any crime.  However, in the three years since his death in 2011 at the age of 84, a ghastly picture of... // Read More »
June 28, 2014

Objectifying Patients, Roboticizing Physicians

One of the things I have always enjoyed about teaching is the fact that in the process of doing so, I, too, learn. Concepts that are vaguely understood become clear; relationships between circumstances and events become more well-defined. That was true again as I recently led a workshop on Transitions in Clinical Medicine for CBHD’s summer conference, where it became apparent that the primary experiential... // Read More »
June 27, 2014

Big brother is a health care provider

Big brother may be watching you — no, not the one you’re thinking of, but one a lot closer to you: your local hospital or health care system. Some hospital systems are now obtaining credit card transaction data about local populations, plugging the data into algorithms that identify those people most likely to get sick, then trying to intervene to prevent them from getting sick... // Read More »
June 27, 2014

Have your Clergy complete the CBHD’s Pastors and Bioethics Survey

If you weren’t already aware, the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity is running an online survey of what pastors know/think about bioethics.  This has not been done before, and looks like a really cool idea. We all know that our pastors are overburdened, and I understand that the survey does take 15-20 minutes, but it sounds like a good use of time.  CBHD plans... // Read More »
June 25, 2014

Enduring Issues in Bioethics

I spent several days last week at the CBHD summer conference. It was titled “Bioethics in Transition”, but one of the things that impacted me the most was the first plenary address by Gilbert Meilaender that focused on some of the underlying concerns of bioethics that have remained the same while new issues have emerged and old issues have changed with the advance of medical... // Read More »
June 24, 2014

Resurrection Weekend

She’s dead, I thought. Her tiny body rested in my hands, which applied rapid rhythmic pressure. Around her in the delivery room was a growing crowd, moving deliberately and just below a hectic threshold, working through the well-known steps for newborn resuscitation. With less than steady hands I did my part, and somehow the team accomplished each critical intervention—intubation, epinephrine, umbilical vein catheter placement, and... // Read More »