Bioethics @ TIU

Sexual morality and the goodness of God

Posted July 1st, 2015 by Steve Phillips

Last week I wrote about Robert George’s presentation at the CBHD summer conference. He expressed very clearly how important the difference is between seeing human beings as a unity of spirit and body and seeing human beings as non-bodily persons who inhabit and use non-personal bodies. We have seen one of the implications of that difference play itself out this week in the Supreme Court… // Read More »

Bioethics and Gnosticism

Posted June 24th, 2015 by Steve Phillips

I am continuing to reflect on the ideas presented at the CBHD summer conference this past week. The talk that impacted me the most was given by Robert George on Thursday evening. His topic was Bioethics and Gnosticism. His focus was the distinction between different concepts of who we are as human beings. One way to think about who we are which is present in… // Read More »

Considering best care for extremely premature babies

Posted June 23rd, 2015 by Courtney Thiele

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a lecture given by Dr. Mark Mercurio of Yale University on making ethical decisions regarding the treatment of neonatal babies. Dr. Mercurio’s talk focused on the topic of aggressive treatment of extremely premature infants (22 – 25 week gestational age). Although I have devoted much of my time to researching beginning of life issues (predominantly… // Read More »

The Issue of Physician Motive in Physician-Assisted Suicide

Posted June 22nd, 2015 by Tom Garigan

Two responses to my June 8th post provide useful points of departure for further discussion about physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The first respondent argued that the Hippocratic Oath states that physicians should not give a “poison,” as opposed to stating that they should not give a “deadly drug.” The respondent’s claim was that inherent in the term “poison” was malintent, which would make the causation of… // Read More »

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Posted June 19th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

The May 28, 2015 issue of Nature was largely devoted to artificial intelligence.  Of note to readers of this blog was a short set of comments from four contributors regarding the ethics of AI.  While none of the writers thought that “robots are (or will be) people, too,” so to speak, they will be increasingly complex machines that pose issue like: Creating a need for… // Read More »

New ATS guidelines on “inappropriate” care

Posted June 12th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

The American Thoracic Society has issued new guidelines regarding requests for treatments that clinicians believe should not be implemented.  Key recommendations: Be proactive in communicating treatment plans and involving specialists in ethics and palliative care, in an attempt to “avoid intractable conflicts.” Limit the use of the word “futile” to interventions “that simply cannot accomplish the intended physiologic goal.”  These should not be provided. Use… // Read More »

How Far Can We Fall If There is No Bottom?

Posted June 8th, 2015 by Tom Garigan

A May 26th post in the Bioethics Forum of The Hastings Center asks “Are we reaching a tipping point in the debate over physician aid in dying?” The author cited the case of a Cornell psychologist who opted to commit suicide with physician assistance before Alzheimer’s caused her to lose “all quality of life” and “meaning.” Cases such as these are compelling, because aging, infirmity,… // Read More »

Physician-Assisted Suicide Passes California State Senate

Posted June 4th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

California Senate bill SB 128, the “End of Life Options Act,” passed the state Senate today by a 23-14 vote.  The overall makeup of that body is 26 Democrats, 14 Republicans.  I have not yet seen the vote posted to determine whether it passed on a strict party line, or how my (Republican) state Senator voted.   The organization has a good discussion, which includes… // Read More »

Opting out of informed consent?

Posted June 2nd, 2015 by Courtney Thiele

In the process of conducting research for a project, I have recently encountered “opt-out” provisions in two separate contexts: medical research and organ donation. An opt-out provision presents a situation where consent is assumed, and in order to not participate in the research/procedure/donation an individual must take active steps to refuse consent. This stands in stark contrast with informed consent where before any type of… // Read More »

An IVF-related development

Posted May 28th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

MedPage Today (subscription required) carried a brief notice on May 22 regarding single embryo transfer in IVF.  What follows is directly cribbed from that article.  Key points: IVF pregnancies are higher risk than naturally-conceived pregnancies.  (No further details were cited.) Most embryo transfers involve one or two embryos. Transfer of two embryos is generally driven by fear of failure to conceive with only one.  (I… // Read More »