Bioethics @ TIU

Reflections on the Metaphors We Live–and Die–By

Posted April 19th, 2014 by Susan Haack

Images powerfully impact how we think and how we live. Metaphors, those images we use to describe the indescribable, to portray the unfamiliar and mysterious, are particularly so because of the identity relationships they create. In my last post, I commented on an article in the NYT entitled, “A Tumor: the Embryo’s Evil Twin,” which described the similarities between embryogenesis and the cellular behavior of… // Read More »

What’s so good about Good Friday? Good Friday and Bioethics

Posted April 18th, 2014 by Joe Gibes

“Why is it called Good Friday?” my ten-year-old son asks. “What’s good about it?” What, indeed. The day we remember a death — and not what people usually mean by a “good” death. When people speak of a good death, they usually mean either that the one dying didn’t die too young or with too much suffering, or that it was as “least-bad” as possible… // Read More »

Pediatric Euthanasia Redux

Posted April 17th, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

Today brings the online publication in JAMA (free access) of an essay, “Pediatric Euthanasia in Belgium: Disturbing Developments,” by Andrew Siegel (U. Penn), Dominic Sisti (U. Penn) and Arthur Caplan (now at NYU). In specific view is Belgium’s February 2014 amendment to its 2002 law legalizing euthanasia.  The amendment, which is now fully enacted in Belguim, extends lawful euthanasia to children with “constant and unbearable… // Read More »


Healing and the Kingdom

Posted April 13th, 2014 by Cody Chambers

By the time we get to chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel, we see Christ’s Kingdom ministry in full swing.  At the start of the chapter we see the commissioning of the twelve for kingdom work, by the middle we see the sending of messengers to make preparations in Samaria, and by the start of the next chapter (10) Christ is authorizing the seventy for the… // Read More »

More on Drug Prices and “Pay for Performance”

Posted April 10th, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

My post last week included a suggestion of “pay for performance” for expensive drugs.  That drew a comment raising concerns about paying physicians based on whether their treatments succeed. I’d like to clarify that my thoughts were limited to expensive new drugs.  The idea—which seems to be gaining currency among, to name one group, payers—is that, in the case of an expensive new drug that… // Read More »

Why should we immunize our children?

Posted April 9th, 2014 by Steve Phillips

A recent NPR All Things Considered story that is summarized on their web site talks about the large number of parents in Marin County in California who choose not to immunize their children by way of personal belief exemptions. This is in a county with a very high average standard of living, but has a high level of children not being immunized. The county recently… // Read More »

Cyber Life After Death

Posted April 7th, 2014 by Christian Vercler

In The New Yorker this week Laura Parker reports on a new internet start-up that has a technological solution to a vexing old problem: mortality. has the tagline in huge font on its site, “Simply Become Immortal.” The CEO, Marius Ursache, says he is trying to solve the “incredibly challenging problem of humanity.” Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil have been arguing for a while now that… // Read More »

The Genetics of Life and Death

Posted April 5th, 2014 by Susan Haack

Having long been fascinated with embryology, a recent article in the New York Times entitled “A Tumor; the Embryo’s Evil Twin,” captured my attention. The article delineated the similarities between the genetic processes that govern both embryological development and tumor growth, also alluding to the metaphors we use to describe the “mysterious.” The article referenced Susan Sontag’s 1978 book, “Illness as Metaphor,” as well as… // Read More »

Guidelines for malpractice reform?

Posted April 4th, 2014 by Joe Gibes

A bill with bipartisan support was introduced in Congress this week that would grant physicians increased protection from malpractice suits if they can demonstrate that they followed established clinical guidelines in the case over which they are being sued. I am all for malpractice reform, but I’m a little uncomfortable with this one. Clinical guidelines in medicine can be very helpful, as long as they… // Read More »

Is there a “Just Price” for Sovaldi?

Posted April 3rd, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

There are worries, or, in some cases, outrage, over Gilead’s drug Sovaldi, which was approved this past December for the treatment of people with hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a serious and increasingly common disease in the US and worldwide. It is transmitted via blood or other bodily fluids, for which there are few treatment options. At its worst, it can lead to long term… // Read More »