Bioethics @ TIU

AI and the Trolley Car Dilemma

Posted February 21st, 2017 by Mark McQuain

I have always hated the Trolley Car dilemma. The god of that dilemma universe has decreed that either one person or five people will die as a result of an energetic trolley car and a track switch position that only you control. Leave the switch in place and five people are run over by the trolley. Pulling the switch veers the trolley onto an alternate… // Read More »

A Conflict of Interest is NOT an Ambiguity

Posted February 19th, 2017 by D. Joy Riley

Oregon Senate Bill 494 has been described as a “euthanasia bill” that is “intentionally ambiguous,” and as a piece of legislation that would “allow the starving and dehydrating of patients who suffer from dementia or mental illness.” What has received less press is the composition of the 13-member committee who would be perpetually in charge of advance directive forms in the state, with no oversight by… // Read More »

Advance Care Planning and its Detractors

Posted February 18th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

The default mode of our technologically advanced medicine is to use our technology. Nowhere is this more true than close to the end of life. And our technology is really impressive; with it, we can keep chests going up and down and hearts beating for a long, long time. The troubling thing is that there are many people who would rather not have lots of… // Read More »

Human germline gene editing full report—a bit more

Posted February 16th, 2017 by Jon Holmlund

As Steve Phillips pointed out yesterday, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has published, in book form, its full report on “Human Gene Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance.”  On Valentine’s day.  (I suppose it’s not so ironic.)  The entire report may be downloaded for free through this link.  Also available at that page are links to a 4-page summary report and to one-pagers… // Read More »

Is there a compelling reason for germline genetic editing?

Posted February 15th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

Yesterday the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine release the findings of an expert panel on Human Genome Editing. The most significant of their recommendations relate to human germline genetic editing. They recognize that the techniques for doing this are not yet at the point that they can be considered safe enough to do at the present, but make the assumption… // Read More »

For Want of a Letter…

Posted February 13th, 2017 by Tom Garigan

If one were seeking to transform our culture, he would aim for approving proclamations from officials to codify his desired belief system. The example that comes easily to mind is the President, which would then mean, of course, the Executive Branch of the federal government. Next, perhaps, would be the judicial system. Even more demonstrative of transformation would be the official policy of the US… // Read More »

New Opioid Legislation in New Jersey

Posted February 13th, 2017 by Janie Valentine

On February 6th, New Jersey passed a law which “[r]equires prescribers to discuss addiction risk associated with certain drugs prior to issuing prescription to minor patient.”[1] New Jersey’s drug overdose rate is twice the national rate, and Governor Chris Christie has officially categorized opioid abuse as a public health crisis, issuing an executive order on January 17th with measures to combat the increasing rates of… // Read More »

Whatever Happened to the Instinct that ‘Doctors Must Not Kill’?

Posted February 12th, 2017 by Philip Thompson

In a 1992 article in the Journal of Clinical Ethics titled, “Doctors Must Not Kill,” renowned physician and bioethicist Edmund Pellegrino reminded fellow physicians—with incisive logic and strong passion—of their historic duty to be healers, not killers. As one who is not a physician but will one day be a patient facing the end of his life, I would take comfort in knowing that my… // Read More »

Apologies and Outcomes

Posted February 10th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

What if a study shows that the course of action we know to be right doesn’t “work”? Or that it may even place us at a disadvantage? When bad things happen to patients in the course of medical treatment, doctors traditionally have avoided apologizing or even expressing sympathy to patients, for fear that such expressions would be used against them in malpractice court as an… // Read More »

Caring and risk

Posted February 8th, 2017 by Steve Phillips

One of the basic realities of the medical profession is that caring for the sick may at times involve risk to physicians and others who are providing that care. Sometimes the risk is relatively minor such as when we care for those with minor respiratory infections and may become ill ourselves. That seemed to happen to me every time I was on a pediatrics rotation… // Read More »