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 »

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 »

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 »

The Gift of Finitude

Posted March 1st, 2017 by Chris Ralston

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finitude. About limits. Incompleteness. Even failure. Like the friend of a friend who is dying and has just been admitted to hospice, whose young teenaged daughter is facing the prospect of a life without her mother. Like the colleague who is grieving the loss of both a spouse and a parent within a month of each other. Like… // Read More »

A Conflict of Interest is NOT an Ambiguity

Posted February 19th, 2017 by D. Joy Riley

Oregon Senate Bill 494 has been described as a “euthanasia bill” that is “intentionally ambiguous,” and as a piece of legislation that would “allow the starving and dehydrating of patients who suffer from dementia or mental illness.” What has received less press is the composition of the 13-member committee who would be perpetually in charge of advance directive forms in the state, with no oversight by… // Read More »

Gattaca validated

Posted November 25th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

In the made-for-bioethics movie Gattaca, when the main character Vincent is born, a nurse in the delivery room draws a drop of his blood, places it in the nifty instant genetic analyzer, and intones, “Heart disorder: 99% probability. Early fatal potential: life expectancy 30.2 years.” (Spoiler alert!) However, Vincent doesn’t let this genetic version of a horoscope control his life, but goes on to beat… // Read More »

Medical errors and more medical errors

Posted May 8th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

Last week the BMJ reported that annually, there are 251,000 hospital deaths due to preventable medical errors in the US. There’s some debate about the calculations that they used to arrive at that number, and about what exactly constitutes a medical error. However, rather than quibble over the fine points, let’s acknowledge that medical errors are an ethical problem that must be addressed. In this… // Read More »

Slouching Towards Gattaca

Posted April 30th, 2016 by Joe Gibes

Genetics is the determinism of our age (“Your destiny is determined by your genes”). It appears more scientific than the determinisms of previous ages such as astrology (“Your destiny is in the stars”) or Marxism (“Your destiny is in economics”), and thus has much greater appeal to the people who look to science for The Answers. News headlines breathlessly report the discovery of the “gene… // Read More »