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Brian M. Cummings, MD and John J. Paris, SJ, PhD

In The New York Times, almost overlooked amidst multiple articles on Covid-19 published that day, we found a challenging essay by Max Fisher entitled, “Europe’s Vaccine Ethics Call:  Do No Harm and Let More Die”?  Fisher inquires whether clinical bioethics should accept the decision of Germany to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine due to blood clots because of what bioethicists label “The Trolley Problem”.  

The ‘ Trolley Problem’ is a thought experiment designed to describe a decision-making process. It involves a scenario in which someone is standing at a railway switch.  If…

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In this age of radical political polarization, it’s good to be reminded of a man whom Reagan hired to please the social conservatives, yet whose 90th birthday party was hosted by Hillary Clinton.

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By Keisha Ray, PhD 

I have been interviewed by many journalists who are writing articles about the COVID-19 vaccines and Black people. Most of the interviews are very similar; journalists want to know how do medicine’s and public health’s past abuses of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people affect their willingness to trust medicine and get vaccinated against COVID-19. After making it clear that it is not people of color (POC) that need to work on their trust of medicine but that it is medicine who needs to work on its ability to be trusted, I tell journalists that medicine must do three things: 1) Acknowledge the problem, namely that medicine is not trustworthy in the eyes of many POC; 2) Apologize for past and current abuses of POCs bodies and minds and apologize for medicine’s role in structural racial inequality; and 3) Correct the way it treats POC, including remedying provider bias and racially biased diagnostic and therapeutic tools. …

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by Adam Omelianchuk, PhD

Consider what the future holds for mental health treatment options. One could authorize an “Internet of Things” to detect mood-changes from an app that monitors one’s social media posts; stress levels from a smartwatch; anxiety symptoms from tapping and scrolling patterns on a touchscreen; signs of cognitive impairment from a speech pattern analysis through anything with a microphone; the benefits of an A.I. chatbot that offers therapeutic conversation; the presence of gut microbes associated with autism from the examination feces deposited in a smart toilet; sleep quality from a smart mattress, medication compliance from a smart pill box (see Joshua Skorburg’s insightful commentary from which I borrowed this list).…

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by Naomi Scheinerman, PhD

The Biden-Harris Administration has a wonderful opportunity, particularly amidst a pandemic in which bioethics questions and difficult tradeoffs are not in short supply, to resurrect a group tasked to advise the president on “bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.” Created under the Obama administration, and dispersed under Trump, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues was responsible for numerous reports on topics that included synthetic biology, pediatric research, whole genome sequencing, neuroscience, and the Ebola outbreak in 2014-15. The Ebola report, in discussing the ethics of quarantine and testing placebo-controlled clinical trials during an epidemic, reiterated an often heard call from officials for “transparent public dialogue and deliberation on public health emergency response.”…

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by Alyssa Burgart

Last night, my phone exploded with texts from colleagues when a former anesthesiology resident at Oregon Health Sciences University, the famous “Tik Tok Doc” was named in a $45 million sexual assault complaint. In addition to the resident Dr. Jason L. Campbell, the suit names OHSU, a prominent anti-harassment advocate, residency program directors, leadership in the departments of Anesthesiology and Emergency medicine, and others in power. The 39-page suit alleges a massive institutional failure and highlights the features in a system where harassment thrives and flourishes. Sexual misconduct is inherently unethical, yet these behaviors pervade our profession, alter career trajectories, and prevent us from being our best selves or providing quality care to others.…

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Check out the recording of American Journal of Bioethics’ latest webinar on the ethical issues surrounding allocating COVID-19 vaccines. Journal editor David Magnus leads panelists Grace Lee, Kathy Kinlaw, Govind Persad, and Monica Peek in an informative and intriguing conversation. The original webinar was held on February 17th, 9a – 10:15a PT. But this webinar, along with our other webinars can be viewed on AJOB’s youtube channel, found here.…

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Join Kathryn Tucker for the upcoming CLE course "Psychedelic Lawyering."This course will discuss recent and ongoing advocacy efforts to remove barriers to access to psychedelic substances, including psilocybin. In recent years there has been incre...

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Radio show host Jane Asher recently interviewed attorney Robert Rivas about the Final Exit Network.Since the mid 1990s, Rivas has dedicated his life to advocacy in the movement for right to death with dignity. Robert is the author of the SADD, the Supp...

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February 15, 2021 marks the first anniversary of the American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying (ACAMAID).The Academy is the first national organization devoted solely to the clinical aspects of medical aid in dying. For clinicians, ACAMA...

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