Does the Doctrine of Double Effect Apply to the Prescription of Barbiturates? Syme vs the Medical Board of Australia

Guest Post: Xavier Symons Paper: Does the doctrine of double effect apply to the prescription of barbiturates? Syme vs the Medical Board of Australia   My recently published article analyses the controversial Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hearing Syme vs The Medical Board of Australia. In that hearing, Dr Rodney Syme, an Australian urologist and euthanasia […]

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Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp)   * Please note: this piece was originally published in Quillette Magazine.     Four members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam living in Detroit, Michigan have recently been indicted on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the first time the US government has prosecuted an “FGM” case since a federal law was passed […]

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Charlie Gard: An Ethical Analysis of a Legal Non-Problem

(Cross-posted from EJIL: Talk!) For those with an internet connection and an interest in current affairs, the story of Charlie Gard been hard to avoid recently.  A decent précis is available here; but it’s worth rehearsing. Shortly after his birth, Charlie’s health began to deteriorate, and he was diagnosed with a terminal and incurable mitochondrial […]

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Is Hope a Virtue?

It’s perfectly understandable that hope should have featured so prominently in the coverage of the Charlie Gard case; each proposal is presented as offering fresh hope, each reversal presented as dashing hopes.  In either case, hope is something presented as desirable.  A bit more deeply, hope is one of the Theological Virtues, and so anyone […]

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Never Let an Ill Child Go to Waste

The Charlie Gard saga is one about which I’ve been reluctant to say anything, not least because plenty of other people have said plenty elsewhere.  Sometimes they add heat, and sometimes they add light. Beneath everything, the story is fairly simple: a small child is terribly ill; it is agreed by medical opinion that continued […]

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What’s the Point of Professional Ethical Codes?

For a few reasons, I’ve been thinking a bit over the last few months about professionalism and professional codes.  In fact, that’s the topic that’s attracted most of my attention here since… oooh, ages ago.  I find the idea of a code of professional ethics troubling in many ways, but also fascinating.  And one of […]

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The Unusual Case of Ian Paterson and Criminally Harmful Surgery

Guest post by Alex Mullock, University of Manchester On 28th April 2017 in the case of breast surgeon, Ian Paterson, the jury in Nottingham Crown Court agreed that in carrying out unnecessary and mutilating surgery the defendant had done what no reasonable surgeon would do.  Paterson was convicted of seventeen counts of wounding with intent […]

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Debate: The Fiction of an Interest in Death? Justice for Charlie Gard

  Julian Savulescu Dominic Wilkinson’s Response A judge ruled last week that baby Charlie Gard will have his treatment withdrawn, against the wishes of his parents. His doctors argued that the rare mitochondrial disease (MDDS) he was born with was causing him unbearable suffering. His parents had raised funds to take him to the US […]

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Donald Trump’s Mental Health (again)

The speculation about Donald Trump’s mental health that was doing the rounds earlier in the year seems to have died down a bit.  That’s to be expected; like it or not, his Presidency is now part of normal life.  But I’ve been lagging in my blogging here, and so it’s only now that I’ve got […]

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Law Changes and Slippery Slopes

Apparently, there was a TV programme in Australia the other day in which a there was a discussion of assisted dying.  It got reported in The Guardian, largely on the basis that an 81-year-old audience member kept calling Margaret Somerville “darling” and then got mildly sweary.  I’ve only seen those clips from the programme that […]

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