Tag: bioethics

Blog Posts (123)

October 12, 2014

The Price of Drugs

Lesley Stahl of CBS recently did a story for 60 Minutes on the high price of cancer drugs.  Physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering and M.D. Anderson have been seeking to remedy the “financial toxicity” of cancer drugs, something which has been mentioned in this bioethics blog as well. In Stahl’s story, Dr. Peter Bach of Sloan Kettering relates how a simple op-ed in the New... // Read More »
October 9, 2014

“I, Transhumanist”

I rely on Wesley Smith’s Human Exceptionalism blog to keep up with things.  Maybe I rely on it all too much but once again I have to give him the “HT” for his mentions of the popular transhumanist Zoltan Istvan.  Last week, Smith commented on, and provided a link to, a piece by Istvan entitled “The Three Laws of Transhumanism and Artificial Intelligence.”  Now, I... // Read More »
October 5, 2014

The Religion of the American Immortal

Penn bioethicist Dr. Zeke Emanuel has been a lightning rod in the health-care field for some time.  He has been the subject of a flurry of media reports on so-called “death panels” and has even received attention in this blog.  Recently, in an interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour he related how he wants to “stop living at 75.” In the interview, Emanuel mentions... // Read More »
October 3, 2014

Prenatal Genetic Testing, and Down Syndrome

Lots of people don’t understand prenatal genetic testing, including both patients and doctors. For instance, many people think that the BUN genetic ultrasound or the “Quad screen” or the prenatal AFP tests can tell whether or not a baby has a genetic anomaly (they can’t; they can only indicate whether a fetus has an increased risk for a genetic anomaly), or that the tests are... // Read More »
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 »