Bioethics @ TIU

The 14 day rule – A brief update

Posted March 21st, 2017 by Mark McQuain

In early December, this blog commented upon the 7 December 2016 conference at University College London, which debated rethinking the ethics whether or not to increase the UK’s restriction on experimentation on human embryos from 14 to 28 days. One result of that conference is that the Progress Educational Trust (the sponsor of the original conference) has since submitted a request to the House of… // Read More »

The Semantics of Therapy, Part II

Posted March 19th, 2017 by D. Joy Riley

A previous blog post of “The Semantics of Therapy” posed three questions about the human genome being a “patient” to be treated. One reader found the post “provocative and disturbing” and called for further explanation and discussion of the questions posed. That will take some time and several postings. The first of the questions to be considered is this: If the “patient” is a genome, to whom… // Read More »

Equipoise and Caution Regarding “Ethical” Stem-Cell Therapy

Posted March 16th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

You may have seen one of the many news reports this week about an “adult” stem cell treatment gone bad.  In it, doctors, not working in regulated industry or in the bounds of a clinical trial, injected stem cells derived from a person’s fatty tissue into the eyeballs of three people in an attempt to treat a vision-destroying condition called macular degeneration—and all three lost… // Read More »

How private should genetic information be?

Posted March 15th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

One of the issues regarding genetic testing is the privacy of that information. It has been recognized for some time that employers and others could use genetic information in ways that would cause problems for those whose genetic information they were able to access. Because of that the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit employers from asking… // Read More »

What are the Ethics of Avoidance?

Posted March 14th, 2017 by Tom Garigan

Mark McQuain, in his February 21st blog post, discussed an interesting article which proposed that ethical decisions be made by robots. Although the author’s specific arguments invite numerous responses, underneath these arguments lies the question: why does modern man spend such effort to use technology to rid himself of yet another intrinsic function of his existence? It seems to me that this wish to pass… // Read More »

Perspectives on Responding to Addiction

Posted March 13th, 2017 by Janie Valentine

Christopher Caldwell has an essay in the April issue of First Things titled “American Carnage: The New Landscape of Opioid Addiction.” In this piece, Caldwell traces the history of opiate and opioid use and abuse in the United States and describes the shocking scope of the addiction crisis in America today. He then criticizes the societal shift in thinking about addiction from a moral to… // Read More »

But at least we don’t have socialized medicine

Posted March 11th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

I just read T. R. Teid’s 2009 book The Healing of America. It’s a timely read in light of the bar brawl over health care that’s brewing in the U.S. legislature this week. Of particular interest are his snapshots of the health care systems of the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, and Switzerland, systems about which I held many cherished misconceptions. All of these countries… // Read More »

“Assisted Suicide: The Musical”

Posted March 9th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition for March 4-5, 2017 carried a “Saturday interview” (subscription required) with one Liz Carr, the creator and, I gather, star of a stage production in London called “Assisted Suicide: The Musical.”  In the article, we read that it received a standing ovation from a full house, but the show’s website shows a one-night-only run. The 46 year-old Ms. Carr… // Read More »

The difficult way to eradicate a genetic mutation

Posted March 8th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has a section in each issue titled “A Piece of My Mind” in which one of the physician readers writes a personal essay. The February 28, 2017 issue includes an essay titled “Eradicating a Genetic Mutation” by Maryl Goldberg Sackheim, an OB/GYN physician, who gives a personal account of her choice to use IVF and PGD to… // Read More »

Autonomy and Time Travel

Posted March 7th, 2017 by Mark McQuain

Autonomy, at the very least, means that no other human has more say in my decisions about my life than I do. By convention, autonomy requires an independent, uncoerced actor who has the cognitive capacity to make informed decisions. While I may have autonomy now, I can lose autonomy at a point in the future if I lose my cognitive capacity for making informed decisions…. // Read More »