Bioethics @ TIU

The Bioethics in Routine Office Visits

Posted July 20th, 2016 by Mark McQuain

I saw two patients last week on the same morning for identical tests whose divergent stories generated an interesting debate amongst my staff regarding healthcare rights and the cost of providing the same. For some background pertinent to this discussion, I perform a diagnostic test in my office called an Electromyogram (EMG) which quantifies the electrical function of muscles and nerves, and is used by… // Read More »

Two more biomedical editorials about the cutting edge

Posted July 14th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

1)      The new issue of Nature Biotechnology carries an erratic editorial complaining that “alarmist” responses to the recent announcement that a project to synthesize an entire human genome may be launched “missed the point.”  The editors say that worries about “synthetic life and secret meetings” missed the point.  The lesser goals of the project—more “nearfetched,” if you will—call for synthesizing long, sub-genomic stretches of DNA… // Read More »

Seeking the proper balance of regulation of cellular therapies

Posted July 8th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

The journal Nature is editorializing against something called the REGROW Act, proposed by Senator Mark Kirk as S. 2689.  Looks like it has been referred to Senate committee and is early in the process. A quick read of the bill is that it would direct the HHS Secretary to establish (through the FDA) a process for conditional approval of certain cellular therapies—which would include certain… // Read More »

Transformations in Care (and a way it needs to stay the same)

Posted July 6th, 2016 by Steve Phillips

The theme of the 2106 CBHD Summer Conference was Transformations in Care and was kicked off by addresses from Cheyn Onarecker and Robert Orr. Dr. Onarecker set the stage for the conference by saying that in medicine today we are in the best of times and the worst of times. He reminded us we are in the best of times in the sense that there… // Read More »

The Strange (Future) Case of Doctors & Mr. Hyde

Posted July 5th, 2016 by Mark McQuain

On 28 June 2016, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth Circuit decision that forced a small pharmacy in Washington to dispense Plan B (a “morning after pill” that terminates a pregnancy via abortion) despite the religious objections of the pharmacist owners. In other words, the lower court ruled that the pharmacists must violate their conscience by prescribing Plan B or… // Read More »

On the “Moral Era” of Medicine

Posted July 4th, 2016 by Neil Skjoldal

A colleague shared a recent JAMA article titled “Era 3 for Medicine and Health Care.” The author, Dr. Don Berwick, quickly surveys Era 1 — the “era of professional dominance”– and Era 2 — the “era of accountability and market theory”– before introducing what he hopes to see in “Era 3,” the “moral era.” Berwick identifies nine changes that need to take place in order to… // Read More »

Information overload

Posted June 30th, 2016 by Jon Holmlund

Alvin Toffler has died.  If you are too young to remember his 1970 book Future Shock (all of us nerdy kids in my school read it when it came out), one of his many prescient statements was that people in the future would be so overwhelmed with information that they scarcely know what to do with it all. And so in recent weeks I find… // Read More »

Pain-Capable Abortion Bans

Posted June 26th, 2016 by Philip Thompson

More than three decades ago, I went to visit a friend who was hospitalized at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. On the way from the parking lot to her room, I encountered a group of animal rights activists protesting the use of animals in medical research. To this day I vividly remember the chant they repeated again and again: “A cat is a rat is a… // Read More »

Balancing the benefits and harms of advances in medical technology

Posted June 22nd, 2016 by Steve Phillips

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual summer conference of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. This year’s conference was titled Transformations in Care, and it was focused on how medical care is changing and the ethical challenges that go along with those changes. As usual, the conference was excellent with thought-provoking speakers and interesting workshops and paper presentations. One of… // Read More »

Organ Harvesting in China

Posted June 20th, 2016 by Neil Skjoldal

On June 13, 2016 the House of Representatives passed HR 343, “Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.” )  In part, the bill “calls on the United States Department of State to… // Read More »