Bioethics @ TIU

Cinematic Cautionary Tales

Posted January 31st, 2015 by Sarah Sawicki

As a Netflix aficionado, I have seen more than my fair share of movies that are centered around the dangers of misusing biotechnologies. To the undiscerning eye, they are nothing more than thrillers or action movies with great CGI, but a more in-depth look will reveal that these films act as cautionary tales. Tales that are often ignored. I could name dozens of movies that… // Read More »

Wall Street Journal readers weigh in on PAS

Posted January 29th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

Last Saturday, the Wall Street Journal carried an excellent op-ed piece, “Dr. Death Makes a Comeback” (subscription required), by Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  In it, Dr. McHugh opposes physician-assisted suicide (PAS), making three key points: The practice will tend to spread beyond terminally ill people to those who are “treatable but mentally troubled.”  He appeals to the experience in… // Read More »

End of life conversations

Posted January 28th, 2015 by Steve Phillips

Having conversations with patients about death are difficult. Sometimes I think we need to talk, but the patient or family does not seem to be ready. I suspect that sometimes the patient wants to talk, but I am not sensitive to that. Sometimes a patient clearly has a terminal illness, but the patient or the family is in denial. Sometimes different physicians approach the patient… // Read More »

Academic Medicine: In need of an examination?

Posted January 27th, 2015 by Tom Garigan

Being a physician in an academic setting, my attention was drawn to this recent article in Academic Medicine: “Time Well Spent: The Association Between Time and Effort Allocation and Intent to Leave Among Clinical Faculty” by Pollart et al. I had mixed gut reactions to this topic; ranging from the notion that this is an awesome topic long overdue for attention, to the questioning of… // Read More »

The “End of Life Option Act” Introduced in the California Senate

Posted January 22nd, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

Today California Senate Bill SB 128 was introduced.  It is described in the press as being comparable to Oregon’s law.  Its status can be followed here.  Apparently (I am betraying my weak knowledge of the civics of my home state here) it is first referred to the California Senate Rules Committee for committee assignment.    I have just downloaded the text and have not studied… // Read More »

Infertility, ethics, and fairy tales

Posted January 21st, 2015 by Steve Phillips

This weekend my wife and I went to see the movie version of the musical Into the Woods. The music was done beautifully and the characters were casted and acted well, but I left disturbed by the ethics presented in the story. For those who have not yet seen the musical I will attempt to comment on it without spoiling it for you. The plot… // Read More »

Physician-assisted suicide, torture, and Hippocrates: He may be old, but (let’s hope) he ain’t dead yet

Posted January 16th, 2015 by Joe Gibes

A recent op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune avers that Hippocratism is dead; and since Hippocrates’ oath is all that stands in the way of that particular exercise of compassion and patient autonomy known as physician-assisted suicide (PAS), let’s just acknowledge the oath’s irrelevance and wash our hands of it so doctors can get back to the business of killing patients. The oath has “marginal… // Read More »

Debating Physician-Assisted Death (i.e.,Physician-Assisted Suicide)

Posted January 15th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

Among the publications I can’t keep up with is the ASCO post, a tabloid-size, 100+ page newspaper that arrives in my mailbox monthly.  But I do peruse it.  December’s offering included a brief summary of a November 2014 debate regarding whether to “Legalize Assisted Suicide,” by the nonpartisan group Intelligence Squared US Debates.   That is the phrase the group used.  It is commonly pointed out… // Read More »

Consequentialism and surrogacy

Posted January 14th, 2015 by Steve Phillips

A recent news article reports on a study by researchers at the Center for Family Research at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. The study found that “in the longer term surrogates do not experience psychological problems as a result of being a surrogate.” 34 women had initially been surveyed 1 year after being a surrogate and this study was a follow up of… // Read More »

Increasing Physician Support for PAS

Posted January 8th, 2015 by Jon Holmlund

Just reporting this week…I will leave it to readers to comment beyond my brief comments here… Just before Christmas, my email inbox included a link (registration may be needed to access) from Medscape to a slideshow describing some results of a survey of 21,000 physicians, 17,000 in the US and 4,000 in Europe.  There was a comparison of 2014 results with prior results from 2010. … // Read More »