» Media Where the World Finds Bioethics Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:31:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This Is How Much Celebrities Get Paid To Endorse Soda And Unhealthy Food Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:53:27 +0000 0 BioethicsTV: Grace and Frankie Kill Their Friend Wed, 08 Jun 2016 05:39:37 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Netflix series Grace and Frankie ended its second season with an end-of-life dilemma. The show has been hailed for its portrayal of active, interesting, and vibrant older characters and its embracing of families of all sizes, types, and colors.

Episode 11 introduces Babe, Frankie’s best friend and a free spirit who has spent her life traveling the world and collecting people. We learn that she lived life to its fullest and never shied away from a chance for adventure.…

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Most Violent Crimes Are Wrongly Linked to Mental Illness Tue, 07 Jun 2016 12:46:20 +0000 0 Families Isolated By Rare Genetic Conditions Find New Ways To Reach Out Mon, 06 Jun 2016 12:48:11 +0000 0 BioethicsTV: Week of May 20 – Assisted suicide, public health crisis management, and making promises Fri, 20 May 2016 06:55:00 +0000 Chicago Med
In its first season finale (episode 18), Dr. Downey arrives in the emergency department in distress—he is bleeding from his liver as a side effect from his cancer treatment. When he does not awake from the anesthesia, Dr. Rhodes, his protégé, suspects a stroke during surgery. A CT scan shows that Downey did not have a stroke, but rather has a large, inoperable brain tumor—his cancer has metastasized. We are told that his future prognosis is grim and that he is in unrelievable pain.…

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BioethicsTV: Paternalism (again) on Chicago Med Fri, 13 May 2016 19:10:19 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Our favorite television dramas this week were light on bioethics issues with the exception of Chicago Med (season 1; episode 17 “Withdrawal”) that continues to explore bioethical issues. This week the theme was arrogant paternalism—residents and fellows believing that only they know what is in the best interest of the patient.

The first storyline concerns a patient brought into the ED in the throes of alcohol withdrawal. He is a frequent flyer patient and has not had a drink in 2 days.…

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Researcher under fire for New Yorker epigenetics article Tue, 10 May 2016 12:07:20 +0000 0 Can A Hospital Tell A Doctor To Stop Talking About Abortion? Fri, 06 May 2016 12:37:16 +0000 0 Methodological Miasma not mental dystrophy plagues drug trials Wed, 04 May 2016 22:07:29 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D. and Bruce Levin, Ph.D.

The Wall Street Journal and many other media outlets chose to beat on the FDA for its recent decision to deny approval of eteplirsen, a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy being developed by Sarepta Therapeutics.

Actually it was the FDA’s scientific advisors not the FDA who concluded that there wasn’t sufficient evidence the drug was effective.

Still the WSJ sneered that “Here’s the gist of FDA’s objection: 12 patients are too few, and thus we don’t know if the drug helps boys walk longer or if the results are skewed.…

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BioethicsTV: Containment Fails to Go Viral Tue, 03 May 2016 21:35:51 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The CW network began airing a “limited” series (what used to be called a mini-series) drama about a bio-terrorism outbreak in the city of Atlanta. Similar to the far superior film Contagion, this television show explores how lives change and the tough decisions that are made in an epidemic.

Containment demonstrates many of the real tools public health has for controlling an epidemic of little known origin and lacking cure or vaccine: closing public places, compulsory leave at businesses, cordon sanitaire, curfews, sanitation, isolation, price controls, quarantine, screening, surveillance, testing, and travel restrictions.…

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Teens most drawn to e-cigarettes by online ads Mon, 25 Apr 2016 14:32:33 +0000 0 New York Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million Over Unauthorized Filming of 2 Patients Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:52:19 +0000 0 BIOETHICSTV: Chicago Med 3/29 Wed, 30 Mar 2016 21:45:29 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

BioethicsTV is an occasional feature where we examine bioethical issues raised in televised medical dramas.

Tonight marked the mid-season premiere of Chicago Med, a freshman television show that seems to relish throwing professional and bioethical issues at its audience. This week, viewers saw no fewer than 4 ethical challenges.

1. Blood draws for DUI in the ED. The first story was about a young man who crashes his car into a house. He is brought to the ED and needs immediate surgery for internal bleeding.…

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What can celebrities do for bioethics? Wed, 30 Mar 2016 20:01:09 +0000 by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Television, film, theater, sports, and music celebrities (and other famous people who only seem to be famous for being famous) capture the public’s attention with tales of the celebrity lives and the perks and downfalls that come with being a public figure. Occasionally, their narratives include topics that are frequently discussed in bioethics. Although it’s great to have the public engaged in topics that we discuss behind closed doors in our offices, classrooms, and laboratories, many times, much to bioethicists and medical practitioners’ irritation, because of their celebrity status they have a large platform to damage the work the medical profession and bioethicists have done to establish a relationship with the public.…

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BIOETHICSTV: “Heartbeat” is Flat Thu, 24 Mar 2016 15:40:13 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This week another new medical show premiered; this time on NBC. Heartbeat follows the story of Dr. Alex Pannttiere one of the few female heart surgeons and chief innovations officer at fictional St. Matthews Hospital in Los Angeles. This series is based on the book Heart Matters by Dr. Kathy Magliato.

The second episode (#102) features a case of conjoined twins who have shared every moment of their lives. The two patients are as different as two people can be, but they share a liver, spleen, parts of a pelvis, and parts of the circulatory system (though both has her own heart).…

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Ethical Formation: Does Beyoncé’s New Video Profit from Imagery of Hurricane Katrina? Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:10:20 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 Toddler Death in Canada: What do we owe children? Thu, 10 Mar 2016 07:24:36 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In 2012 Alberta, Canada, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephan died after allegedly being given supplements with an eye-dropper from the family’s own nutritional supplement company. His parents David (32) and Collet (35) Stephan called for an ambulance after Ezekiel stopped breathing. The parents allegedly gave their son a variety of remedies include maple syrup, juice, and an apple cider vinegar concoction. The child was airlifted to a hospital and after five days he was removed from life sustaining treatment.…

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Amusing Ourselves to Death? The Tension between Entertainment Values and Civic Virtues Wed, 24 Feb 2016 06:59:53 +0000 Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

“In Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”

–Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

With the rise of Donald Trump as a political force, we should take stock of some prescient work of the last 30 years. In 1985, cultural critic Neil Postman wrote his landmark book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (a 20th anniversary edition was issued in 2005 with an introduction by his son Andrew Postman).…

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Chicago Med Files DNR Under X-File Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:07:22 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This week appears to be advance directive week on television. First, on the rebooted X-Files, Dana Scully finds her mother’s advance directive. Second, on Chicago Med a physician ignores not only a DNR, but a patient’s clearly stated wishes not to be resuscitated. One of these presents a model of a good surrogate decision-maker who respects the patient’s wishes. The other shows an arrogant doctor who blatantly ignores patient autonomy.

The X-Files (Season 10, Episode 4) finds Agent Scully at her mother’s bedside after receiving a call from her brother that their mother is in the hospital.…

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A Letter to Dick Wolf & Chicago Med Wed, 03 Feb 2016 08:37:59 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was a graduate student in my clinical bioethics masters program I was rotating through a pediatric subspecialty, following a physician. The first half of the day was great. The doctor introduced me to patients, explained what was going on with them, explained his plans and his hopes for each patient. About two-thirds through one particular day he asked me for my stethoscope. I thought “Uh-oh, He doesn’t understand.” When I responded that I did not have one, he said “What kind of medical student are you.” I shrugged my shoulders.…

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Putting Patients Before Publicity Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:49:05 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Imagine if 5 million people learned about your hospital in a week. Would you want your hospital to be featured in a television reality show? Described as “unscripted authentic medical dramas,” such shows follow trauma cases from accident to emergency room. Over 2 seasons, NYMed followed stories at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center, University Hospital (NJ), and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. Similar shows include Hopkins, Boston Med, Save My Life: Boston Trauma and Boston EMS.…

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Powerball Fever Is Born of Epic Inequality Tue, 12 Jan 2016 22:03:12 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Like many Americans and Canadians, I hold in my hand a ticket for a chance to win to the record $1.5 billion lottery. For a couple of bucks, you can dream: My spouse and I talked about being able to pay off student loans, buy a new house, maybe buy a vineyard in France. The media write articles on the long lines, the high hopes, and how this money will help fund schools and public programs.

My question is why is the idea of winning huge amounts money so attractive that it encourages people in droves to spend their money on a 1 in 292 million chance of winning big?…

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The Ethics of Moral Outrage Wed, 06 Jan 2016 15:44:33 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. –Aristotle

The year 2015 produced a mind numbing number of events that triggered intense social media anger. From the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion to the CEO who jacked up HIV/AIDS drugs, it seemed everyone had an excuse to be angry.…

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Live Long & Prosper is the New “Good” Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:49:48 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

One of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions is one common to many, that we go around the table and name something for which we are thankful. This week my list includes several things relevant to bioethics:

For most Americans though, they are often thankful for things that make them happy such as their family and their health.…

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Is There An Ethics Consultant In The House? Striving For Verisimilitude In Chicago Med Thu, 19 Nov 2015 16:44:23 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD and Nanette Elster, JD, MPH

The new NBC medical drama Chicago Med premiered this week. A spin off of other established NBC dramas (Chicago Fire and Chicago PD), Chicago Med focuses on the working lives of health care professionals in a busy emergency department in the city of Chicago. Sound familiar? It should, because that was the premise of the hugely successful NBC series ER that premiered over 20 years ago in 1994 and launched the careers of several successful actors.…

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A Bioethicist on Mars Mon, 02 Nov 2015 07:18:08 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The film, The Martian, is an exciting Robinson Crusoe space adventure. Based on the book of the same name by Andrew Weir, the film stays fairly close to the original source. Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars when he is impaled by a metal rod in the middle of a sudden and violent storm. Thought dead due to a malfunction of his suit, his fellow astronauts leave him and make an emergency evacuation to return to Earth.…

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Hello Barbie: Considering Potential Unforeseen Problems with A.I. Dolls and What Children Tell Them Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:00:00 +0000 by Amanda Zink, J.D., M.A.

Hello Barbie, a doll with artificial intelligence (AI) that enables it to “talk” with children, is slated for release this November, just in time for the holiday season.

When a child activates a microphone inside Hello Barbie’s necklace, her words will be recorded and transmitted to computer servers. Speech recognition software will convert the audio message to analyzable text, enabling the “correct” response to be chosen out of thousands of pre-scripted lines.

Given recent articles on this toy in the popular press, I pose the question: Has Mattel taken enough time to think through the problems that could ensue from giving thousands of children a talking friend and uploading their conversations to the Cloud – for the manufacturers, the children’s parents, and maybe even the NSA to hear?…

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Is Bioethics Too Powerful? Thu, 17 Sep 2015 22:21:32 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In an August 2015 Boston Globe opinion piece, Steven Pinker—professor of psychology at Harvard—wrote that bioethics should “Get out of the way” of medical research and technological advancement. He states that bioethics “bog[s] down research in red tape, moratoria, or threats of prosecution base on nebulous but sweeping principles such as ‘dignity,’ ‘sacredness,’ or ‘social justice’.” He goes on to say that bioethics “thwarts” research by “sowing panic about speculative harms” such as making analogies to Nazi medical experiments or referring to science fiction.…

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The Private as Public: What it Means for Bioethics Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:54:36 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Today I was sitting in an outdoor coffee house and listened to the sounds around me. I heard the jackhammer from the street construction and the beep of a truck backing up. There was the gentleman working on his computer at the next table, playing music from his cell phone, out loud for everyone to hear. There were two women behind me (one actually moved so that she was next to me) speaking in very loud voices while one was convincing the other to use her as a web designer (and complaining about their boyfriends).…

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The Last Public Intellectual: the Legacy of Jon Stewart Tue, 04 Aug 2015 21:54:33 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

A dozen years ago, polymath and federal appellate judge Richard Posner wrote a book called Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. Posner took to task the group of public intellectuals he surveyed in his book (e.g. scholars, artists, public officials, etc.) for the low level quality of their work. As David Brooks (another person targeted in his book) observed: “We stink. Our logic is flawed. Our use of evidence is shoddy. Our ratiocination is crude.” Posner’s analysis focused on the likes of Allan Bloom, Amitai Etzioni, Toni Morrison, and even Bill Moyers.  …

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Investigating Two Claims Against Planned Parenthood: Center of Medical Progress’s Secret Videos Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:39 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Before you being reading, I have a disclaimer: Growing up, my mother worked for Planned Parenthood. As a nurse, she practiced in their clinics offering well women services, counseling, and contraception. After many years, she went on to direct their clinic’s in vitro fertilization program. I also heard the word “Planned Parenthood” stated with a quick northeastern accent. Said that way, as a child, I thought the place was called “Plant Parenthood” and wondered what plants had to do with women’s health.…

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Is Donald Trump entertaining? Sat, 18 Jul 2015 23:06:20 +0000 by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.

Is Donald Trump entertaining? Many in the media seem to think so. Coverage of Trump is intense. The Huffington Post, trying to marginalize him and his candidacy, has decided to confine coverage of his Presidential campaign to their entertainment section. But Trump is no joke. Treating him as such is inexcusable.

Promoting racism should never get a pass. Bioethicists familiar with the ways in which racism has fueled totalitarian politics and prejudice in medicine know this all too well.…

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AJOB Announces Two New Editors Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:02:57 +0000 The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) is delighted to announce two new additions to its esteemed Editorial Team.

John Lantos, Associate Editor

John Lantos, MD, is Director of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Bioethics Center in Kansas City.  Prior to moving to Kansas City, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, where he was also Chief of General Pediatrics and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Dr. Lantos has held many leadership positions in bioethics and pediatrics. …

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Figure 1: Global Medical Education and Collaboration in Real Time Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:26:34 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

When I was teaching in medical schools I recall a case where a student was reprimanded for breaking patient confidentiality by uploading a picture of surgery to his Facebook profile. This incident led to educational interventions about the appropriate use of social media in medicine. The short guideline was, “Never upload photos of patients onto the internet.” Now, physicians are encouraged to upload patient pictures through a service called Figure1, which has been described as “Instagram for doctors.”

Figure 1 is part of Medicine 2.0, using online technology to enable collaboration and interaction.…

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A Pill for Compassion or Misunderstood Science? Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:36:37 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

For at least a decade, studies have shown that empathy and compassion decline in medical students. The response is often more curricula dedicated to ethics, humanities, communication skills, and patient contact. But what if the answer was simply medicating the students.

An article in Time magazine reported that a study from researchers at the University of California Berkeley and University of California San Francisco have found “that by manipulating a brain chemical, people can become more compassionate and act in prosocial ways to equalize differences.”

Compassion is “a sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress with a desire to alleviate it.” According to the article, the study of 35 subjects found that when taking a drug a person’s desire to alleviate inequity increased.…

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Comedy and medicine: Why we mock parents who don’t vaccinate their children Fri, 06 Mar 2015 07:15:19 +0000 By Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

In a recent episode of his late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel, father and comedian, included a segment in which real physicians mock parents who do not vaccinate their children in a mock public service announcement. Because Kimmel said it best, here is a long quote from his opening segment:

“If you are one of these anti-vaccine people you probably aren’t going  to take medical advice from a talk show host…and I don’t expect you to. But I would expect you to take medical advice from almost every doctor in the world…See the thing about doctors is they didn’t learn about the human body from their friends’ Facebook page.…

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Lying, Bullshitting, and Atul Gawande Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:00:44 +0000 by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

Atul Gawande: “I came on board after she got diagnosed with that second cancer. And in my mind I was thinking ‘I wouldn’t offer this surgery because the lung cancer is going to take her life.’ And yet I didn’t feel I could say that to you. I think we started talking about the experimental therapy that you all were hoping to get on with the trial for the lung caner. And remember saying something I sort of regret, which was that ‘maybe that sort of experimental therapy will work for the thyroid cancer too.’ [laughs and shakes head] I said that.

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The Oscars: Hollywood’s Biggest Night and Why it Matters to Medicine and Public Health Mon, 16 Feb 2015 01:53:28 +0000 by Macey Henderson and Jennifer Chevinsky

The Oscars, or the glamorous Academy Awards, are known as the biggest night for Hollywood’s actors and for its big ratings for the mass media. For days following this gala, the media reports on the outfits worn, Oscars won, and perhaps most passionately, they begin to critique the process and decisions of the prestigious American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (i.e. “The Academy”).  But why should the medical and public health community care about the Academy, the big name nominees, or the ultimate winners?…

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(Golden) Global Change and LGBT Rights Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:05:35 +0000 ]]> 0 Striking the Balance Between Population Guidelines and Patient Primacy Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:34:06 +0000 ]]> 0 Dr. Fauci or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the Media’s Coverage of Ebola Wed, 29 Oct 2014 01:30:46 +0000 by Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD

Although the Ebola virus is not ubiquitous, media coverage of it certainly is. A quick Google search of Ebola results in 37,700,000 hits. By comparison, Googling Obama results in 34,200,000 hits (although googling Obama and Ebola together results in 91,800,000 hits). Media coverage of Ebola has displaced many other news stories over the last few weeks. WNYC’s On the Media has tried to temper the over-the-top media coverage. They even posted a Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook.…

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Fear and Loathing in Liberia Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:31:43 +0000 ]]> 0 Fever Pitch Thu, 09 Oct 2014 11:42:35 +0000 ]]> 0 Can Social Media Save Us from the “Spiral of Silence?” Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:37:06 +0000 ]]> 0 Taking the Icy Plunge (Or Not) Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:16:06 +0000 ]]> 0 Big Bad Ebola Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:15:13 +0000 ]]> 0 Lessons from France: Decision-Making At the End-of-Life Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:27:06 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In the United States, the notion of autonomy is held in high regard. Since the development of patient’s rights in the early 1970s, the notion that an individual has the capacity of self-governance is a cornerstone of medical ethics and a standard of medical care. But that idea has not always been held. In the early and middle parts of the 20th Century, patients were often not told about terminal diagnoses. The joke about doctors curing through the words, “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” derives from the practice that patients were not only not told about their conditions, but were also given treatments without any discussion of what the drugs would do (or not do).…

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Media Sensationalism and Medical Practice: Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for a Good Reason Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:03:45 +0000 ]]> 0 Do OkCupid and Facebook experiment on vulnerable populations? Mon, 04 Aug 2014 18:25:10 +0000 by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

A few months ago Facebook announced that some Facebook users were a part of a 2012 experiment. In the experiment Facebook altered the number of negative and positive posts and photos that appeared in users’ newsfeed. In a paper documenting the results of the study, authors noted that by changing what users saw in their feed, Facebook was able to alter moods, emotions, and the kind of posts that people posted. The study was meant to be an experiment in online social interactions and emotional connections.…

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Day or Night: Ethics Depends on Time Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:19:28 +0000 by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Is that shirt the cashier forget to ring up a bonus or do you point out the oversight? Do you report your peer for being an impaired physician or just look the other way when she drinks? Cut your $20 million pay as a CEO or “layoff” 10,000 workers?

When dealing with ethical issues like these your first step may be to watch the clock. A study published last year found that people are more moral in the afternoon than in the mornings.…

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