Posts in July 2014

  1. Incremental Changes: Three Parent IVF

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    Recently, the NYTimes published a long-ish piece on three parent IVF.  Simply put, one parent contributes an egg, another the sperm, and a third the cytoplasm for the egg, which contains a third parents mitochondria, including their mitochondrial DNA.  While the benefits for those with mitochondrial disease are obvious, it is strange that this appears to help some women achieve pregnancy and live birth, but it does.  The interesting thing for me is that this is one small change from IVF, but feels like a big ethical step.  What are your thoughts?    

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  2. Should we have destroyed anthrax?

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    This article from the NYTimes is really scary!    

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  3. A Step Forward in Animal Rights: But Do We Have The Capacity To Classify Animals?

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    Last month, Yale University held the Personhood Beyond the Human conference, attracting experts from the fields of law, ethics, science and activism to discuss re-examining the status of non-human animals as “things” without rights, and changing the paradigm to a position of personhood with legal rights. Although most of the discussion surrounded primates, the conference is also looking to discuss animals, such as elephants and cetaceans because there is a considerable body of science that recognizes that these animals have critical capacities required for legal personhood designation, including self awareness, awareness of others, complex social relationships, mental time travel, culture, and complex problem solving. This is a fantastic effort and is the first conference that is attempting to bring people ...

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  4. Another Brain Dead Mother Being Sustained to (hopefully) Allow the Baby to be Born

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    Robyn Benson suffered from a fatal brain hemorrhage and is brain dead.  Yet, her husband hopes to keep her on life support to allow their unborn baby to develop until 34 weeks.  How is this different from the case of Marlise Munoz?

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  5. Pros and Cons of Genetically Testing Embryos

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    In this NYT article, differing opinions on the use of genetic testingof embryos are discussed. Some ethicists argue that people can beobligated to use genetic testing in order to spare the nextgeneration. Others argue that discarding embryos which have geneticmutations is wrong because eliminating embryos with such genes isessentially saying someone the mutation should never have been born. Ipersonally believe that people should have the right to geneticallytest embryos if they choose to do so. What are your thoughts on ...

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  6. Sirens of the Lambs

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    Check out Banksy's performance art that clearly demonstrates his position about animals and the food industry.  Thanks to Brian Swift for sharing this.  What do you think?  

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  7. Marlise Muñoz, alive or incubator?

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    This article discusses the story of Marlise Munoz, a 33 year old pregnant woman from Fort Worth, Texas who was proclaimed to be brain dead after collapsing on her kitchen floor last November because of a blood clot. Texas is part of the handful of states that prohibit medical officials from ending life support to pregnant women, and although Munoz's family had decided to take Marlise off of life support, granting the choice she had made before reaching this condition, doctors at the John Peter Smith hospitals have not complied with this decision. This case brings up issues concerning abortion as well as end-of-life care.  (Thanks for Vera Armus-Laski for this post.)

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  8. $75,000 to Extend Life for 42 days?

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    Zaltrap is a drug that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of advanced colon cancer. The life-extension median of the drug is 42 days, however the price is staggering. It is expected of a doctor to disregard price when it comes to medicine, however several doctors at Sloan Kettering agreed to not offer the drug in their hospital. Read the article here and leave a comment. (Thanks to Jason Schoen for this post.)

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  9. Five Days at Memorial

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    If you are looking for a good bioethics book to read, consider Five Days at Memorial by Sherri Fink.  This well researched book tells the story of how physicians and nurses cared for the sick and dying in the trying days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  To what extent should circumstances alter moral decision making?  (Thanks to Ariel Ben-Ezra for making me aware of this book.)

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  10. How powerful are images?

    [ By on July 14, 2014 ]

    Years ago, before I came to Riverdale, I religiously watched House, MD.  I thought he was funny.  I loved the bizarre relationships on the show.  Often, I enjoyed the detective work (aka critical thinking) that the doctors engaged in to diagnose the patient.  Sometimes, bioethical dilemmas were illustrated.  One episode, Fetal Position, struck me.  It wasn't until I showed part of it to my bioethics class that I realized the episode likely stemmed from a real situation and a real image. (Note, I took the image from here.  Mr. Clancy seems to give permission.)   Hand

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