Bioethics @ TIU

Racial inequalities in cancer survival

Posted December 9th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

Three studies published in a supplemental issue of the journal Cancer this month come to disturbing conclusions: in the United States, the survival rates for colon, breast, and ovarian cancer are lower for black people than for white people. The news isn’t all bad: overall cancer survival rates are going up. The three studies mentioned here draw from two larger studies of worldwide cancer survival, the CONCORD… // Read More »

Party politics, people’s lives

Posted January 6th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

As health care financing rises yet again to the top of our national legislative agenda, some fundamental questions ought to be strongly considered. First, and most fundamental: Is some level of healthcare a right, that the government is therefore obligated to protect? Is it better viewed as a common good, like roads and fire protection services, that everybody pays for through taxes and everybody benefits… // Read More »

Another election, another round of health care reform

Posted November 6th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

Now that we Chicagolanders don’t have the World Series to distract us anymore, we have to go back to thinking about the upcoming election. Health care financing is of course one important issue in the presidential race. One side wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the other wants to keep it and work to fix it. Whoever wins, it’s evident… // Read More »

The Lost Narrative

Posted September 28th, 2015 by Tom Garigan

In their article “Autonomy vs. Selflessness at the End of Life” published in the Summer 2015 edition of Ethics & Medicine, Hannah Martin and Daryl Sas provide a useful foray into the battle over the meaning of human dignity. The authors describe an alternative to the “flat” version of human dignity espoused by proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS)—a version based solely on self-determination. In other… // Read More »

The Physician’s Imprimatur

Posted July 13th, 2015 by Tom Garigan

In a previous blog response about physician-assisted suicide (PAS), Mark McQuain asked, “Why involve physicians at all?” That question gets too little attention. There are some easily discernible (and perhaps expressed) reasons why physicians are chosen to be the agents of assisting suicide. First, they have access to pain- or consciousness-relieving pharmacologic measures that also have the (in this case) desirable effect of stopping breathing… // Read More »

Good Ethics Requires Bad News

Posted March 17th, 2015 by Tom Garigan

Some bad news took me by surprise this week, taking the form of an article in the Annals of Family Medicine entitled, “Why Medical Schools Are Tolerant of Unethical Behavior.”  The authors described a medical school graduation ceremony in which the speaker thanked professors and healthcare professionals not just for competent and humane care, but for providing examples of “pure unethical behavior.” I wondered if… // 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 »

Embodying a right to health care

Posted November 7th, 2014 by Joe Gibes

In a residency applicant’s personal statement, I came across this sentence about a doctor working among impoverished rural people: “His presence embodies their equal right to health care.” Equal right to health care. When speaking about rights, I always hear that one person’s positive right implies an obligation on somebody else’s part to provide something. For instance, one person’s right to health care implies that somebody… // Read More »

Contain AND Extinguish

Posted October 14th, 2014 by Tom Garigan

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, wrote an article published on October 9th entitled, “Why I don’t support a travel ban to combat Ebola outbreak.” In it he provides ten arguments against a travel ban; these arguments can be categorized as those claiming that such a ban would be ineffective, harmful, and unnecessary. Unfortunately for Dr. Frieden, they raise more questions… // Read More »

It’s not primarily about the guns

Posted September 12th, 2014 by Joe Gibes

A recent article in Dignitas and a recent post to this blog discuss gun violence as a public health issue. I don’t know if the broad category of gun violence properly falls under the heading of public health, but one aspect of it certainly does: accidental firearm injuries in the pediatric population. It is difficult to obtain reliable statistics to say how prevalent this problem is,… // Read More »