Bioethics @ TIU

Eugenic immigration policies revisited

Posted January 13th, 2018 by Joe Gibes

Many people, when they think of the history of eugenics, think of Nazi Germany. However, eugenics was widely accepted and implemented as policy in America long before the Nazis rose to power. At the beginning of the 20th century, the numbers of immigrants to the United States were increasing rapidly. This greatly alarmed those who were aligned with the eugenics movement, the quasi-scientific movement to preserve… // Read More »

From Coercion to Christmas

Posted December 23rd, 2017 by Joe Gibes

The recent wave of stories of sexual abuse and harassment led my residents (I teach family medicine residents) and me to a discussion of sexual ethical violations in medicine. The annals of disciplinary actions by state medical boards are filled with penalties inflicted upon physicians who have entered into sexual relationships with patients. Why is it that in the patient-physician relationship, sexual intimacy between two… // Read More »

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 »

The unbefriended and their doctors

Posted September 16th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

There is a rapidly growing class of uniquely vulnerable patients showing up on our hospital doorsteps. Referred to as the unbefriended, or more prosaically as the unrepresented, these are patients who have no capacity to make medical decisions themselves, have no advance directives, and have no family or friends or anybody else on the face of the earth to speak for them. It is as… // Read More »

Reflections on visiting the site of a concentration camp

Posted September 2nd, 2017 by Joe Gibes

My 18-year old daughter has gone to spend a year in Germany as an exchange student. She is part of a group of students spending a month in intensive language training before going to live with their host families. This week, the students visited the site of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. My daughter describes the camp and her experience in detail on her blog; below is… // Read More »

Ethical Health Care Reform

Posted July 21st, 2017 by Joe Gibes

Recently I heard a Christian TV personality refer to Obamacare as “iniquitous.” This started me thinking, What would make a health care funding reform scheme “iniquitous”? Or, although the words aren’t synonymous, what would make such a scheme unethical? What should go into ethical health care reform? The answers to these questions are legion and conflicting. There are some who see government intervention as inherently… // Read More »

Health care disparities: a pro-life issue

Posted June 9th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

This month’s Health Affairs carries an article examining the correlation between one’s income and one’s perceptions about one’s own health and health care. Worldwide, those with the lowest incomes feel that their health is worse than those with the highest incomes do. They also are more likely than those with higher incomes to skip necessary treatment because they can’t afford it, and are more concerned that if… // Read More »

Buck v Bell at 90 years old

Posted June 5th, 2017 by Neil Skjoldal

Last month marked the 90th anniversary of Buck v Bell. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the Supreme Court decision that ruled that Virginia’s sterilization law was constitutional and infamously stated regarding the litigant Carrie Buck, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” In his 2016 book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck (Penguin), Adam Cohen goes over the facts of… // Read More »

Undermining the USPSTF: The most important stakeholders are the patients

Posted May 12th, 2017 by Joe Gibes

A strange “health care” drama plays out daily in our clinics and hospitals. A healthy person has a medical test done (even though he or she is healthy): a blood test, a chest x-ray or mammogram, maybe an ultrasound of some body part. The test comes back abnormal. The patient (for she has now gone from being a healthy person to being a patient) is… // Read More »

All We Need is (Unconditional) Love

Posted April 26th, 2017 by Chris Ralston

On March 24, 2017, Joe Gibes posted an entry on this blog, entitled “A ‘disabled’ person speaks out against a particular form of discrimination.”[1] That post featured links to several stories about Kathleen Humberstone, a young woman with Down Syndrome who spoke at a recent UN event commemorating World Down Syndrome Day, which was observed on March 21. After reading through Joe’s post and the… // Read More »