Blog Posts (1314)
November 21, 2014
Since President Obama’s April 2013 launch of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has worked to ensure that ethics is an integral part of the conversation when discussing neuroscience. This past week, the Bioethics Commission was busy discussing its work at […]
November 21, 2014
The food stamp program helps over 40 million Americans pay for groceries. Unlike other forms of economic assistance, this program, called SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), only pays for food, thereby constraining how recipients make use of the aid. … Continue reading →
November 20, 2014
This month, the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta released an eleven-page opinion in Chalifoux v. Alberta Health Services. This is a rather typical medical futility case resolved in a typical fashion.
Ava Alayla Chalifoux-C...
November 19, 2014
<p><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In the last couple of years, the media has reported women undergoing uterus transplantations. Just last month, </span><a style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;" href="http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29485996">the media reported</a><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> that the first baby was born from a transplanted uterus. While the woman’s identity remains unknown, she is a 36 year old Swedish woman who was born with ovaries, but not a uterus. She and her partner underwent IVF to produce embryos that could then be transferred into the transplanted uterus. This donor is a friend of hers who is 61 years old and had experienced menopause seven years beforehand. The quality of a woman’s uterus does not diminish over time, so she is able to successfully carry a pregnancy event postmenopausally (it is the quality and quantity of her eggs that leads to infertility and eventually menopause). Both the woman and the baby are doing fine, according to media reports. However, the baby was born prematurely at 32 weeks because the women developed preeclampsia and the fetal heart rate became abnormal. It is not clear from the media reports whether the development of preeclampsia was related to the uterus transplantation.</span></p>
<p><strong style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="http://www.amc.edu/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong></p>
November 19, 2014
I recently summarized a few cases in which a patient was either negligently or intentionally declared dead prematurely.
But this recent case reported by Fox News in Dallas Fort Worth indicates misunderstanding by the family rather than error by the clinicians.
26-year-old Martha Perez dies from injuries sustained in an car wreck involving a suspected drunk driver. Perez was a registered organ donor and doctors told the family they were prepared to harvest the organs for donations.
The family objected: “But she still has heart and lung functions,” said family member Juan Martinez. Unfortunately, this statement indicates that the family does not understand that these cardiopulmonary functions are compatible with legal death in Texas. They can be artificially sustained even after death is determined (on neurological criteria).
On the other hand, the family also alleges: “They took her off the life support and she was still breathing.” If that is true, then the determination of death must have been wrong. A person breathing on their own (without ventilation support) cannot be dead under either cardiopulmonary or neurological criteria.
November 18, 2014
It is well known that Medicare expenditures threaten the financial solvency of the U.S. government. And it is pretty well agreed upon that some of our Medicare spending goes towards wasteful medical care. But which medical care is wasteful and … Continue reading →
November 18, 2014
Yesterday, on Inside Texas Politics, Texas Representative Matt Krause said he is preparing legislation for the 2015 session that will address the situation in which a pregnant woman is on life support.
Removing life support from a pregnant woma...
November 17, 2014
Here is the opening of a recent media story, reporting on a noble attempt researchers made to promote colon cancer screening by telling people when their genetic risk of such cancer was elevated: People at average-risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) … Continue reading →
November 17, 2014
On November 6, a Polish physician made a house call on 91-year-old Janina Kolkiewicz. But after finding "no basic life functions," the physician declared her dead. Two hours later she was taken to the morgue.
The physician checke...
November 16, 2014
<p style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Let me emphatically state at the outset of this short blog: I have always thought the elective termination of pregnancy (ETOL) was a serious moral issue. As I have taught students over the years on this topic, to fully appreciate the moral conflict around abortion (or any other moral conflict) one must be willing to put oneself in the middle of two important value positions. In other words, one must be willing to hold and take seriously in one’s mind simultaneously two opposing thoughts or value positions in order to weigh them fairly. </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> </span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Though I don’t think that a fetus is a person with a personal or social identity, it is biologically human—and that alone is a relevant piece of moral information. The fetus has a unique genetic code and has the potential to grow to full term into a new baby and eventually grow into a child, adolescent, and adult human being. Because a fetus has the potential to become a full-fledged member of the human community, all things equal, we should not destroy it. But rarely in human life are all things equal.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><strong style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong></p>
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