Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (1271)

October 25, 2014

Making Decisions for Others - Surrogates & Unrepresented Patients (May 7-8, 2015)

Ethical dilemmas commonly arise in healthcare regarding patients who are unable to make their own medical decisions.  
  • Who is best positioned to speak for these patients, and what decisions should we allow them to make? 
  • What if the patient has no friends or close family members, or close relatives disagree on the best course of action? 
  • Should there be a limit on what parents can decide for minor children? 

Cases involving decisions by others are often the most difficult cases that health care providers confront.  Yet policies pertaining to such decisions are frequently problematic, and education for providers about these issues is rarely prioritized.

The UAMS Intensive Healthcare Ethics Workshop for 2015 aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to share research and experiences about decision-making for others. The workshop is designed for only a limited number of participants in order to be highly interactive, and will include keynote speaker and small group sessions, as well as submitted papers and posters.   

Submit proposals here by January 12, 2015.  

Jessica Berg, JD, MPH
Interim Dean, Professor of Law and Biomedical Ethics, and Associate Director of the Law-Medicine Center
Case Western Reserve University

Douglas B. White, MD, MAS
UPMC Endowed Chair for Ethics in Critical Care Medicine and Director, Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

D. Micah Hester, PhD
Chief, Division of Medical Humanities, Clinical Ethicist
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital

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 24, 2014

Do Doctors Have a Duty to Treat Patients With Ebola?

[Huffington Post] Now that two nurses treating Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan have themselves been diagnosed with the disease, it is time to ask: Do doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals have a duty to treat patients? What of the unsung healthcare “workers” — hazmat teams, EMTs, transporters who wheel stretchers, lab techs who test […]
October 24, 2014

Today Is Jahi McMath's Birthday

Today, October 24, is Jahi McMath's birthday.  She is 14 years old today.  Or is she?   It is hard to tell, because there remains uncertainty over whether she is alive or dead.
October 23, 2014

The “Brains” Behind the Bioethics Commission and Why a Multidisciplinary Approach is the Smartest Approach

Last month the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) was excited to take part in the first-ever White House BRAIN Conference. As a part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, President Obama asked the Bioethics Commission to review the ethical issues associated with neuroscience research. In May, […]
October 23, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Liberia

by Sean Philpott-Jones, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Clinical Leadership Two weeks ago, I wrote a commentary decrying the current hysteria in the US over Ebola. It was ironic, I argued, that so many people were demanding the federal government take immediate steps to address the perceived threat of Ebola while simultaneously ignoring […]
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 23, 2014

Supreme Court’s Decision in Tschumy: Told from the Front Line by the Lawyers Who Litigated the Case

The Minnesota State Bar Association is presenting:  "The Supreme Court’s Decision in Tschumy: Told from the Front Line by the Lawyers Who Litigated the Case."  

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently issued its long awaited opinion in the important case of In re: the Guardianship of Jeffers J. Tschumy.  In a divided opinion, the Court found that a professional guardian can order the removal of life-support from patients without court review, as long as there is no dispute about that decision among interested parties.  The case raised the difficult issue of what powers a guardian has over removing life support when a patient has no hope of recovery.  

Please join the Health Law Section for a discussion of the Supreme Court’s decision by the two attorneys who litigated this important matter.
  • Michael J. Biglow, Law Offices of Michael J. Biglow
  • Robert A. McLeod, Lindquist & Vennum LLP

Friday, November 21, 2014, 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
River Room / Town and Country Club  Saint Paul
Please join us for breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m.

October 22, 2014

The Ethics of Sperm Freezing for Teenage Boys

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">A few weeks ago, I attended the </span><a style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;" href="">annual Oncofertility Consortium conference</a><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> where Dr. Angel Petropanagos and I presented our poster “Teen Boys and Fertility Preservation: An Ethical Analysis.”</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">The vast majority of discussions about fertility preservation (FP), particularly FP for “social” (aka nonmedical) reasons, are focused on women in part because FP for women raises more ethical issues.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">For instance, egg freezing carries more health risks and is generally less effective than sperm freezing. Furthermore, whereas sperm freezing has been an established method of FP for decades, it was only two years ago that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine lifted the experimental label from egg freezing.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Yet, even established technologies can raise ethical concerns when used in vulnerable groups, such as children. Our research project examines the ethical issues FP raises when used by teenage boys.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In order to undergo sperm freezing, males must produce a sperm sample and this is usually done through masturbation. However, discussions about masturbation can be embarrassing and difficult for adolescent males (as well as for healthcare providers), particularly if they have never masturbated or never masturbated and achieved an ejaculation. Some parents and healthcare providers place a high value on preserving patients’ future option of genetic reproduction, but FP discussions with teen males can be especially challenging due to the sensitive and private nature of sexuality and reproduction. </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>
October 22, 2014

VA Hospital Mistakenly Places DNR Order on Roland Mayo

The Sacramento, California Veterans Affairs Medical Center has admitted to mistakenly placing a do-not-resuscitate armband on patient Roland Mayo.  (USA Today) The patient's daughter said that he was hospitalized for a stent replacement in...