medical ethics

End of “Abandon All Hope” Hospice Model?

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When I was researching my book on bioethics, Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, the late Dame Cecily Saunders honored me with a 30 minute interview at her St.Christopher’s Hospice. For those who may not know, Dame Cecily–the creator of the modern hospice movement–was one of the most important medical humanitarians […]

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Turning UK Patients into Human Guinea Pigs

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Well, this is alarming. A proposed bill in the UK would permit doctors to experiment on their patients. From the “Medical Innovation Bill:” (2) It is not negligent for a doctor to depart from the existing range of accepted medical treatments for a condition, in the circumstances set out in subsection 3), if the decision […]

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Anthrax Vaccine Testing Okayed for Children!

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I can’t imagine President Bush’s Council on Bioethics ever countenancing this, but President Obama’s bioethics advisory commission has given conditional approval to test anthrax vaccine on children! From the Reuters story: “We have to get this precisely right,” panel Chair Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, said at a news conference. “Many significant […]

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Wrong to Give Aurora Killer Truth Serum

I could not believe my eyes: A judge has ordered the Aurora killer to be injected with a truth serum to test the veracity of a “not guilty by reason of insanity” agreement. From the Guardian story: Legal and medical experts are questioning the decision of a judge in Colorado to allow James Holmes, the […]

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No More “Ashley’s Treatment” Until Studied and Approved

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC This is outright human experimentation — no matter how benignly motivated. “Ashley’s Treatment,” that is giving massive doses of hormones to seriously disabled children to keep them small and sexually immature, seems to be spreading. (Ashley also had her budding breasts amputated, but that is […]

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Physicians Group Says Put Patients First

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC Who does the doctor serve? When we lived in a society with common values, the answer was easy — the patient. Today, not so easy. Now, doctors sometimes are asked to take lives, not just save them. And there is a push within organized medicine […]

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Should Doctors Tell Patients When Death is Imminent? It Depends on the Patient

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC The LA Times has an interesting story about whether doctors should tell imminently dying patients that they are about to expire. The question asked, is whether this is the right thing to do. From “Should Doctors Tell Patients When Death is Imminent:” A study published […]

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Doctors Should Help Patients Choose, Not Manipulate to Force a Choice

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC I am worried that we are going full circle around the bioethical issue informed consent. Where once, patients and families weren’t allowed to decide to stop heroic medical efforts — the dreaded “paternalism,” as it came to be called — today a neo paternalism movement […]

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Human Subjects Research Ethics Protections Should Not be Dilluted

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC Since the Nuremberg Code, protecting human subjects has always been thought more important than the speed in which research could be successfully brought into clinical application. But the world of medicine is growing increasingly utilitarian, and I have wondered how long that ethos would remain […]

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Belief in Human Exceptionalism Only Real Protection of Human Subjects in Research

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC It is well known that Nazi “doctors” engaged in horrendous medical experiments with concentration camp inmates. They thought it was fine and right to do so because they believed they were working on so-called untermenchen, that is, humans of lesser value. There is no such […]

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Futile Care: Open Court is the Right Approach, Not Star Chamber Secrecy

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC A Minnesota futile care theory case illustrates why I believe that disputes over whether to continue wanted life sustaining treatment belong in court, not in secret and confidential bioethics committee meetings. From the story: Lana Barnes entered Hennepin County Probate Court Wednesday morning determined to […]

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Why Is it Wrong For Medical Students to Conduct Body Cavity Exams on the Unconscious?

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC Very serious charges are being made that some Australian and UK medical students conduct intimate body exams on unconscious patients without consent. From the story: AUSTRALIAN medical students are carrying out intrusive procedures on unconscious and anaesthetised patients without gaining the patient’s consent. The unauthorised […]

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Ethically Thin, Science Unltd.: The Shape of Progressive Bioethics

By Evan Rosa, CBC Communications Director Reviewed: Progress in Bioethics: Science, Policy and Politics, Jonathan D. Moreno and Sam Berger, eds., The MIT Press, 2010 “The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.” (G.K. Chesterton, Fancies Versus Fads) […]

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Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America Finally Available Again

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC And now a word from our sponsor: COD, as I call it, has probably been my most successful book, other than The Lawyer Book, back in 1988. It has certainly had the most impact (followed closely by Forced Exit, which is more narrowly focused on […]

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