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Blog Posts (53)

December 18, 2014

Physician, Torture Thyself

by Sean Philpott-Jones, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Clinical Leadership Last week, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released its long awaited report describing the techniques that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used to interrogate suspected terrorists and other combatants captured during our long running War on Terror. The so-called Torture Report, the product […]
December 14, 2014

Patients Abandoned—Who is to blame?

<p style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">The vast majority of developed nations in the world provide universal healthcare coverage for its citizens. The only developed nations that do not are “…<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/heres-a-map-of-the-countries-that-provide-universal-health-care-americas-still-not-on-it/259153/">a few still-troubled Balkan states, the Soviet-style autocracy of Belarus, and the U.S. of A., the richest nation in the world</a>.” </span></p> <p style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Yet the United States (US) has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, by far—there really isn’t a close second—spending just under 18% of GPD and around $8,500.00 per person on healthcare. One might assume that given that type of expense, we would be getting a lot more than other countries in return for our investment. According to the research provided by <a href="http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2014/jun/mirror-mirror">Mirror, Mirror</a>, from the Commonwealth Fund, the US sadly underperforms and often fails relative to other developed countries on major measures of performance. </span></p> <p><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">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="color: #000099; text-decoration: underline;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong><span style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> </span></p>
December 11, 2014

The CIA Torture Report: Health, Medicine & Ethics

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

On Tuesday, December 9, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on intelligence released its long awaited report on CIA interrogation and torture.…

December 3, 2014

James and Lamar’s Excellent Adventure

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">You may remember a movie, now twenty five years old in which two apparently unintelligent teens (<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096928/">Ted and Bill</a>) use a time machine to prepare a history assignment.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> In this movie it appears that things may not turn out so well but a being from the future comes to help them out and save the world. The movie is, of course, fiction and a farce. It very much appears that we are, in a sense, reliving this sort of excellent adventure with an important difference. It appears to be a farce but unfortunately it is not fiction. It is also not likely to be excellent.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In January the 113<sup>th</sup> Congress of the United States of America will be convened with Republican majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives. In this new congress Senator James Mountain Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma will almost certainly become Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committeehas oversight of pollution and those environmental issues which impact public works including highways and power plants. </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="http://www.amc.edu/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> </span></p>
November 16, 2014

The New Abortion Issue: The Moral Status of Women

<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>
October 29, 2014

Quarantine: The politics are as real as the science

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Implementation of medical quarantines in America brings into conflict various legitimate arguments regarding who, if anyone, should have the authority to restrict movements of citizens.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Quarantines are not new, but they exist now in a world with new dangers and new opportunities for abuse.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In teaching medical students in recent years, it became apparent that many students found the concept of a home quarantine to be abhorrent.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Many were aghast at the concept that a patient could be restricted from daily activities, and found it an egregious violation of civil liberties and ethical conduct.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Interestingly, these views were often </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; text-decoration: underline;">not</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> mitigated substantially when students were informed that, in former days, quarantines were fairly common in this country and elsewhere.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In a world before the Internet in which home confinement was really quite restrictive, medical quarantines for diseases such as small pox, tuberculosis, or even measles were not uncommon.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Such quarantines were usually imposed by a local health official.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">In addition, many families self-quarantined, or at least avoided exposure to potential sources of disease.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">For example, some people used to avoid many summer activities for fear of contracting polio.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Due largely to the development of vaccination, many of the diseases that would have invoked a quarantine in earlier years are no longer of concern, and the concept of quarantine has become a bit anachronistic, even in a world that offers many portals that would seemingly make confinement less onerous.</span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">  </span><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">But the topic of quarantine requires renewed consideration in the world of today.</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="http://www.amc.edu/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong></p>
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 14, 2014

Why we ignored Ebola until recently

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Ebola burst onto the scene in 1976 when a thirty-old man arrived at the Yambuku Mission Hospital in Zaire complaining of severe diarrhea.…

October 10, 2014

Yes, Obamacare is a Success

<p><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">When the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare was under consideration there was an unrelenting partisan attack against both the proposed legislation and the president who proposed it. We were told that millions would lose insurance coverage, that the cost of medical care would skyrocket, and that government bureaucrats would be interfering with the health care relationship between us and our physicians. We were told that death panels would be making decisions to end the life of the elderly and infirm. We were told all sorts of things that were so ridiculous that I cannot recall them. The fact is we were told lies. Interestingly and importantly none of these things have occurred. The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase the extent of medical insurance coverage and the corresponding access to health care permitted by insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act was also designed to slow the growth of health care costs. While it is true that there were initial technical glitches in its rollout, now a year after people could begin to enroll, and still only months after the initiation of most of its provisions it is clearly apparent that it is doing just what it was designed and implemented to do. Yes, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is a success.</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="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a></strong></p>
October 1, 2014

A Primer on Ebola: Ethics, Public Health, and Panic

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Ebola is in the news a lot with the diagnosis of the first case on U.S. soil (excluding the 4 cases of health workers who were repatriated from West Africa after falling ill with the disease).…