By Maxwell J. Smith. Consider: Kelly is a nurse who has been employed by her city’s general hospital for nearly thirty years. She is single, has two kids preparing to go to university, and a mortgage to pay. Her job is threatened when she is told that, as a condition of continuing her employment, she […]
Why we can almost guarantee that genetic enhancement will never be fairly distributed
By Sinead Prince. We’ve been discussing the possibility of genetic enhancement, and the ethics of such technology, for some time now. Many people are quite cautious about the idea of genetically modifying embryos as well as adults, but others have begun waving the green flag rigorously. Genetic enhancement is the modification of genes using technologies […]
Consent for medical treatment: What is ‘reasonable’?
By Abeezar I Sarela. Consent is fundamental to good medical practice. The General Medical Council (GMC) advises doctors to comply with the law in obtaining patients’ consent for medical treatment. Currently, the law on consent derives from the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board. This judgment emphasizes […]
A new argument on personhood, based on pregnancy
By Heloise Robinson. This blog post is about a JME article I have just written, in which I make a new argument on personhood, in relation to pregnancy. I argue that, if we follow a threshold concept of personhood, there are reasons to recognise a second threshold that would be reached because of pregnancy, and […]
Patient data for companies: Patient privacy, private profits and the public good
By Adrian Thorogood and Eva Winkler. Our paper tackles a question that policymakers and public healthcare systems are wrestling with around the world: should for-profit companies be given access to medical data derived from patients for research? In public healthcare systems, medical data is generated as part of the routine care of patients, and through […]
Should we routinely reinterpret genomic results?
By Gabriel Watts and Ainsley J. Newson. Data obtained from genomic sequencing has an interesting quality. Unlike most other kinds of health results, the stored information remains accurate over time, because it reflects a largely stable property of our bodies: our DNA. Of course, during this time, sequencing methods themselves are likely to have advanced […]
Does our preoccupation with resilience mean we must tolerate the morally intolerable?
By Rebecca Farrington, Louise Tomkow, Gabrielle Prager, and Kitty Worthing. Healthcare professionals are increasingly expected to be hardy and ‘suck it up’ to survive in complex and demoralising workplaces. As NHS clinicians, we saw staffing shortages and limited resources firsthand during the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences magnified our scepticism about the onus on us, as […]
Sodium valproate: an “essential medicine”, but for whom?
By Rachel Arkell. On 2nd May 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a statement on “the risks associated with valproic acid in women and girls of childbearing potential”, alerting stakeholders to its revised guidance. It states valproic acid should not be prescribed to this cohort of patients due to associated risks of “birth defects […]
Should AI allocate livers for transplant?
By Max Drezga-Kleiminger, Joanna Demaree-Cotton, Julian Koplin, Julian Savulescu, and Dominic Wilkinson. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is moving rapidly. In the (recent) past, we could hide behind the knowledge that much of the ethical discourse around AI was in hypothetical terms – we were discussing what we should do in case technology progressed […]
Pig hearts and paediatrics: how children will require distinctive ethical approaches when xenotransplantation becomes a reality
By Anthony Merlocco Due to the ongoing struggle to obtain organs for those in need, and the resulting morbidity and mortality while awaiting organs, renewed efforts to study transplantation between species, or xenotransplantation (XTx), have emerged. Gene editing has been used to enhance human graft survival or to make animal organs better suited for a […]