Bioethics @ TIU

Brain death and uncertainty

Posted December 17th, 2014 by Steve Phillips

The case of Jahi McMath has been back in the news. She was declared brain dead Dec. 12, 2013 after she went into cardiac arrest following a tonsillectomy surgery in California. Her mother did not accept the diagnosis of brain death and moved her to New Jersey where state law allows the continuation of medical treatment for a person who has been declared brain dead… // Read More »

The people who don’t deserve health care

Posted December 12th, 2014 by Joe Gibes

By all accounts, since the beginning of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare), many previously uninsured people now have medical insurance. The ACA has expanded access to health care. However, many millions still do not have medical insurance: some by choice, but many because they still can’t afford it, even under the provisions of the ACA. And there are many others… // Read More »

A different type of virtue

Posted December 10th, 2014 by Steve Phillips

Last August while I was leading a faculty discussion of how emerging adults (a sociological term for those in the 18-29 age group) had been found to think about morality in a sociological study and how to respond as we interact with students, I had supported that proposal by David Setran and Chris Kiesling in their book Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adults that using a… // Read More »

Disparaging Remarks about the IPAB

Posted December 4th, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

Whatever its merits, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be fully repealed, for at least political and practical reasons.  But one feature of it that needs to go is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), intended to be a panel of 15 appointed experts for whom IPAB is in essence their full-time job.  (As of this writing, no members have been appointed or even… // Read More »

An All-Too-Brief Review of Being Mortal

Posted November 27th, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

Being Mortal, which is subtitled “Medicine and What Matters in the End,” is about aging and frailty, decline and death, and dealing with those as well as possible.  It’s not really a book about medical ethics or even about medicine as much as about our latter days.  It’s full of stories about the loss of independence, assisted living, nursing homes, intensive care at the end… // Read More »

Bioethics Exam

Posted November 21st, 2014 by Joe Gibes

In keeping with the evaluation-obsessed spirit of the time, here is a little bioethics test. No multiple-choice fill-in-the-bubbles here, no simple true/false; but bioethics usually isn’t so simple, is it? So it’s OK if you don’t have a No. 2 pencil, you can still take today’s exam! _______________________ 1. The patient-physician relationship depends on trust, and close observation, and appreciating subtleties, and giving one’s full attention… // Read More »

Resident physicians as the key to Do Not Resuscitate orders

Posted November 20th, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

At last month’s ASCO Palliative Care conference in Boston, one of the presentations was a survey, done by resident physicians (doctors 1-3 years out of medical school, doing hospital-based, post graduate training) at Tufts Medical Center.  The topic: what their fellow residents thought about conducting conversations with patients about Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders. Some background:  most of the time, these conversations would arise in… // Read More »

The Importance of Ethical Standards

Posted November 16th, 2014 by Cody Chambers

This week, banking regulators announced fines totaling over $4 billion against six banks from around the world, including Switzerland’s UBS and the USA’s JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.  Some weren’t ready for a deal: London-based Barclays Plc., which had been in settlement talks, said it wasn’t ready for a deal. This seemed a little like déjà vu to me, since I was living in… // Read More »

Is it right to compel hospital staff to care for patients with Ebola?

Posted November 14th, 2014 by Joe Gibes

Is it right for hospitals to compel their staff to care for patients with Ebola?   In response to the Ebola epidemic in Africa, hospitals here are preparing for the low-probability but high-risk prospect of caring for patients with Ebola. There are at least two different approaches hospitals are taking. Some hospitals are assembling a team of personnel who volunteer to care for any patients… // Read More »

Three Items About Human Research Ethics

Posted November 13th, 2014 by Jon Holmlund

Much of the day-to-day of bioethics involves specific decisions about the ethics of human subject research.  This week brings three items—ranging from a standard “bread and butter” issue that is particularly topical, on the one hand, to the incredibly bureaucratic and arcane on the other. The “bread and butter” issue is, under what circumstances is it ethical to use a placebo in clinical research?  The… // Read More »