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 […]

Read More…

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 […]

Read More…

No Pain, All Gain: The Case for Farming Organs in Brainless Humans

Guest post by Ruth Stirton, University of Sussex (@RuthStirton) and David Lawrence, Newcastle University (@Biojammer) It is widely acknowledged that there is a nationwide shortage of organs for transplantation purposes.  In 2016, 400 people died whilst on the organ waiting list.  Asking for donors is not working fast enough.  We should explore all avenues to […]

Read More…

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 […]

Read More…

Aid-in-Dying Laws and the Physician’s Duty to Inform

Guest Post: Mara Buchbinder Paper: Aid-in-dying laws and the physician’s duty to inform Why do so many people assume that any clinical communication about aid-in-dying (AID, also known as assisted suicide), where it is legal, ought to be patient-initiated? Physician participants in my ongoing study tend to assume that physicians should wait for patients to initiate […]

Read More…

Response to ‘A Matter of Life and Death: Controversy at the Interface Between Clinical and Legal Decision-Making in Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness’

Guest Post: Julian Sheather, British Medical Association Response to: A matter of life and death: controversy at the interface between clinical and legal decision-making in prolonged disorders of consciousness (also available as a blog summary) The law has to work in generalities. The prohibitions it imposes and the liberties it describes are set for all of […]

Read More…

How to Keep HIV Cure-Related Trials Ethical: The Benefit/Risk Ratio Challenge

Guest Post by Nir Eyal Re: Special Issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics on the ethics and challenges of an HIV cure For most patients with HIV who have access to antiretroviral treatment and use it properly, that treatment works well. But the holy grail of HIV research remains finding a cure. Sometimes that […]

Read More…

Chappell on Midwives and Regulation

Richard Yetter Chappell has drawn my attention to this – a blog post in which he bemoans the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s rules about indemnity insurance, and the effects that they’ll have on independent midwives.  (I’d never heard of independent midwives – but an IM – according to Independent Midwives UK – is “a fully […]

Read More…

The Importance of Disambiguating Questions about Consent and Refusal

Guest Post: Rob Lawlor Re: Cake or death? Ending confusions about asymmetries between consent and refusal Imagine you have an adolescent patient who is in need of life saving treatment. You offer him the treatment, assuming that he would consent, but he refuses. As he is not yet a competent adult, you decide to treat […]

Read More…

A Matter of Life and Death

Guest Post by Professor Lynn Turner-Stokes Re: A matter of life and death – controversy at the interface between clinical and legal decision-making in prolonged disorders of consciousness In an article published in the JME, I highlight the confusion that exists amongst many clinicians, lawyers and members of the public about decisions with withdraw life-sustaining treatments […]

Read More…