December 9, 2016
Check out this video of Bob Truog presenting "Futility Disputes - An Interminable and Intractable Failure of Medical Decision Making" at the Children's Mercy Kansas City 2016 Pediatric Bioethics Symposium.
This presentation frames and places th...
December 8, 2016
One of the first questions a newly married straight couple
often gets from well-meaning friends and family is “when are you going to start
trying?” For those of you who are wondering what this question is getting at,
it is asking them if they are going to start to try to get pregnant. It is
interesting to analyze the language used here. People typically talk about
“trying” without ever specifying what they are in fact trying to do. Part of
the reason for this may be because people assume the meaning is obvious from
the context, such as “they’ve been trying for six months but haven’t gotten
pregnant yet.” Another reason probably has to do with our societal discomfort
talking about sex.
We use general and vague terms to
imply that we are talking about sex, but often don’t feel comfortable out right
discussing it. For example, the birth control pill is generally just referred
to as “the pill.” There is still shame and stigma surrounding sex, particularly
for women and sexual minorities, so it may be easier and safer for a woman to
talk about being on “the pill,” even though everyone knows what she is
referring to, than to overtly announce that she is using contraception.
Even though we as a society may not
feel comfortable explicitly discussing sex, we still feel that it is our
business. From a legal perspective, look at how carefully reproductive medicine
is regulated. For instance, certain reproductive procedures (e.g. abortion and
sterilization) can require waiting mandatory periods – something that is not
common in other areas of nonelective medicine. In the social realm, family,
friends, and even strangers feel they have the right to comment on a pregnant
woman’s behavior, such as by telling her what she should and should not eat or drink.
Returning to the topic of “trying,”
family, friends, and again even strangers often have no qualms about asking
women about whether they are trying to conceive. This is especially the case
for straight women who are recently married and women who are perceived as
being near or at the end of their “biological clock.”
Asking women whether they are
“trying” is problematic on many levels. First, it assumes that all women want
to become pregnant with genetically related children. While this may be true
for many women, it is not true for all women. There is already enough social
pressure on women in our pronatalist society to have biological children so
people should avoid adding to this pressure. Second, asking people if they are
“trying” is just a euphemism for asking them if they are having regularly
scheduled unprotected vaginal penile penetrative intercourse, which is usually
not considered an appropriate topic, especially among strangers. It is
typically seen as impolite to discuss sex under certain circumstances or with
certain people and discussing reproductive sex (that is, sex for which one of
the purposes is reproduction) should not be treated differently.
To summarize, if you don’t feel
comfortable asking others if they are having regularly scheduled unprotected
vaginal penile penetrative intercourse, then don’t ask them if they are
“trying” to conceive.
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 website.
December 7, 2016
As one of the most groundbreaking sitcoms of all time, The Golden Girls introduced a range of bioethical issues on the show regarding medicine, the human body and women’s health. In this TEDx Talk, Dr. Elizabeth Yuko, a Fordham University Center for Ethics Education fellow and adjunct professor, discusses how influential Golden Girls was, and still is, … More TEDxFordhamUniversity: Lesson in Bioethics Given by Golden Girls | Dr. Elizabeth Yuko
December 7, 2016
Look at this trend in life expectancy, U.S. vs other developed countries, as a function of healthcare spending: Keep in mind, I DO NOT think life expectancy is a good way to judge the quality of healthcare or the efficiency … Continue reading →
The post Holy Life Expectancy! appeared first on PeterUbel.com.
December 6, 2016
By Tim Lahey Two days ago, Jimmy stuck a used needle into the soft skin of his forearm, and released 20 milligrams of black tar heroin and a bolus of bacteria into his blood. The bacteria floated from vein to artery as he nodded, eventually sticking themselves to the ragged edge of his aortic valve. […]
December 5, 2016
Throughout its tenure, the Bioethics Commission has maintained an active digital presence to connect with a global audience. A major component of this has been through its blog. This final blog post reflects on the role the blog has played in disseminating the Bioethics Commission’s work.
December 5, 2016
For three years, the family
of Jahi McMath has made numerous public claims that she is alive.
The medical defendants in her malpractice lawsuit now want to rebut those
claims by using evidence presented during hearings in December 2013. But
those records are under seal. The family opposes
the defendants' joint motion, citing Jahi's right to confidentiality.
A hearing is scheduled for December 13, 2016.
Furthermore, for those wanting to "catch up" on what this case is all
about, the plaintiffs’ opposition brief provides a nice recap of the medical
malpractice claims. It also provides a recap of the evidentiary basis
that Jahi is now alive. Highlighting is mine.
"Here, based upon
medical experts' evaluations of Jahi since Judge Grillo's ruling in 2013, she
no longer fulfills standard brain death criteria, due to her ability
to specifically respond to stimuli. The distinction
between random cord-originating movements and true responses to command is
crucial to diagnosis of brain death. Jahi is capable of intermittently
responding intentionally to a verbal command."
international team of medical experts who gathered to observe, test and
analyze Jahi's unprecedented progress in the fall of 2014 saw evidence of brain
activity in the EEG. They observed the brain activity increase and become
'readily identifiable and profound' when Jahi's mother spoke to Jahi.
A long and thorough MRI was conducted in which they 'unequivocally saw
the presence of brain structure including the evidence of ribbons in the brain."
"This is critical as it showed that the brain, although damaged, was there
structurally.' Nine months after Jahi was declared brain dead, the
experts 'would have expected to see her brain had liquefied. It clearly was
not.' Additionally, the experts looked for evidence of blood flow. 'Blood
flow was clearly evident. This does not happen if a patient is brain dead.'"
overruling Defendants' demurrer to Plaintiffs' personal injury claim, this
Court has properly rejected Defendants' argument that once their physicians
opined in December 2013 that Jahi was brain dead for the purpose of removing
life support, her death became static, fixed and permanent, and Jahi is
absolutely precluded from alleging and proving that she is, in fact,
"To the contrary, her
condition has changed dramatically since Judge Grillo's
ruling in December 2013 - among other changes, there are vast areas of
structurally and relatively preserved brain, tests demonstrate intracranial
blood flow consistent with the integrity of the MRI and inconsistent with brain
death, and Jahi underwent menarche (her first ovulation cycle) and began breast