Tag: bioethics

Blog Posts (135)

November 5, 2014

Physician assisted suicide on YouTube

Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is in the news in a way that is different than before. It is not because it is election time and a state has a ballot initiative about legalizing PAS. It is because a 29 year old woman with an aggressive malignant brain tumor, Brittany Maynard, has chosen to use PAS to end her life and chosen to do it very... // Read More »
November 2, 2014

Spiritual Matters and Bioethics

Halloween has come and gone, and as is typical in recent American history, it was a big deal and big business.  My town hosted a city-wide event last weekend, so a drive near the courthouse square was marked by all sorts of goblins wandering the streets (and packing the McDonald’s). This past week’s episode of Sleepy Hollow on FOX featured police officers helping a young... // Read More »
October 30, 2014

Nobility and nihilism in palliative care

Last weekend, I attended the inaugural Palliative Care conference for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  Fifty years into ASCO’s existence, it now takes the formal position that good cancer medicine means integrating palliative care—addressing symptoms and “whole person” aspects of medical care—throughout the treatment of a person’s cancer, not just at the end of life.  And there has been a move to establish... // Read More »
October 29, 2014

Ebola and Human Nature

With over half of the posts on this blog in the past 2 weeks being about Ebola I was hesitant to write more about it, but I will anyway. In the midst of daily e-mails from the hospital system I work for about mandatory Ebola screening training and containment procedures and questions from the students where I teach it is hard to avoid thinking about... // Read More »
October 28, 2014

If no travel restrictions, then….quarantine?

As the Ebola epidemic rages on, the debate about travel limitations has moved inevitably to the next stage: whether there ought to be a quarantine imposed on healthcare providers and others returning from service in endemic areas. We have been reading two opposing views, one emphasizing, as did Governor Christie of New Jersey, that “the obligation of elected officials is to protect the public health... // Read More »
October 24, 2014

Surprised by Joyousness

This week, I was brought up short by a quote from a book by Malcolm Muggeridge entitled Something Beautiful for God. Muggeridge is writing about Mother Teresa and the religious congregation she founded, the Missionaries of Charity. According to Wikipedia, the Missionaries of Charity ”run hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s and family counselling programmes; orphanages; and schools.” Muggeridge... // Read More »
October 23, 2014

Hope vs Realism in Cancer Research

The October 10, 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology carries the article, “Hope and Persuasion During Informed Consent.”  It reports an assessment of informed consent conferences between pediatric oncologists and children with incurable cancer, and their patients, at six centers participating in a Phase 1 clinical trial between 2008 and 2011.  Recall that, in drug development, “Phase 1” refers to the earliest stage... // Read More »
October 18, 2014

Where Have All the Heroes Gone…?

The response of the CDC earlier this week to the development of Ebola in a Dallas nurse illuminates another sad consequence of the rise of bureaucratic medicine. In their very disturbing response to this tragic incident, the CDC arrogantly announced—prior to any investigation and without adequate evidence–that the cause of the transmission of the Ebola virus to Nina Pham, the nurse involved in the care... // Read More »
October 17, 2014

Metaphor: Shopping

Story: a white couple ordered sperm from a sperm bank, stipulating that it be from a white man, for artificial insemination; however, in the delivery room, it was immediately apparent that they didn’t get what they ordered, as their newborn daughter was mixed-race. The couple is now suing the sperm bank for $50,000. In Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune, columnist Dahleen Glanton wrote a commentary on this... // Read More »
October 16, 2014

Ebola and the Challenge of Public Conversations

Writing on this blog two days ago, Tom Garigan offered a pretty thorough critique of the CDC’s response to Ebola, and the agency’s defense of that response.  I write not to challenge that, or even address it directly.  I do note that Tom is not alone in his criticism of the way the public health officials are speaking to the public at large.  Complaints have... // Read More »