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Author Archive: Jon Holmlund

About Jon Holmlund

Greed is a common concern—a risk, from one perspective, an indictment, from another—raised regarding medical care and the people who profit from providing certain aspects of it.  Nurses don’t get rich.  Doctors, in rich nations, often do.  Public hospitals generally don’t; private, for-profit ones do, and manage their work to make sure they do.  There’s …

Continue reading "Property rights, payments, and urgent public health needs"

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A fundamental concern about applying gene editing to human embryos is how to limit the risk of errors, or “off-target” effects.  One makes an edit to change a bad gene’s defect, and presumably prevent the disease the defective gene would cause.  But the current methods to do that, although apparently highly selective, might still make …

Continue reading "A new cautionary tale for heritable genome editing"

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Last week, this space on this blog addressed concerns about overconfidence in judgments about the COVID pandemic, and intimated that some humility is in order, especially on the part of the experts doing the advising and opining. Now turn the perspective around—humility is in order on the part of us non-experts, receiving and reacting to …

Continue reading "Pandemic Priorities in the Face of Uncertainty"

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As I write this I have been fielding messages from a friend and interlocutor who, a knowledgeable health industry professional, seems quite confident that had President Trump been successfully impeached—or, better, never elected—the COVID-19 pandemic would not have been such a trouble for us.  And there may well be something, more than a little something, …

Continue reading "Uncertainty, Arrogance, and Mourning in the time of Pandemic"

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Some common mislocutions are simply insufferable.  One is, “It’s in my/our DNA,” implying that a commitment or habit or practiced behavior is genetically hard-wired.  No, it isn’t. Another is, “I/we will follow the science” to make judgments.  If by this is meant, “I will face facts rather than engage in wishful thinking,” then hear, hear.  …

Continue reading "“The Science” and Moral Judgments"

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Let us stipulate at the outset: first, that so much—far too much? –is being written on the COVID-19 outbreak, and wisdom is a precious commodity; second, that although your correspondent is an MD, he is as bewildered as anyone by the storm of reports, claims, data, projections, arguments; and third, that whatever public comity may …

Continue reading "More—with trepidation—on COVID"

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As one with the letters “M” and “D” after my name, I get emails from a service called Medscape (subscription generally required), with links to a variety of articles on things medical.  This week brings a link to a piece under the title “Inexact Science: is Patient Eligible for Medical Aid in Dying?”   The upshot: …

Continue reading "More notes on suicide—assisted or not"

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In May of 2019 The New Bioethics carried a paper (purchase or subscription required) by Jennifer Gumer of Columbia and Loyola Marymount Universities, summarizing an argument against heritable genome editing (the kind in which an embryo’s genes are edited so that the change will be passed down to the subject’s descendants), based on Belmont principalism.  …

Continue reading "A principalist argument against heritable genome editing"

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Some weeks ago, a utilitarian perspective in favor of heritable genome editing was published (purchase or subscription required to read).  In it, the author, Kevin Smith of Abertay University in the United Kingdom, begins with a general defense of utilitarianism, the ethical philosophy that what is morally good is what produces the greatest good for …

Continue reading "An argument for heritable genome editing"

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The title does not mean societal or legal control of gene editing technology.  Rather, it speaks of controlling, or shutting off, a specific gene editing process.  In retrospect, it had to be the case that there is a resistance, or control, mechanism for the CRISPR system, the gene-editing machinery that functions as a way for …

Continue reading "Controlling gene editing"

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