Do we exaggerate expected benefits when we communicate with our patients?

By Ramy Sedhom As a first year oncology fellow, I am eager to help patients suffering from cancer. And although some cancer drugs offer large, definite benefit, many drugs improve outcomes only marginally. The medical community and laypersons recognize the need to develop therapeutics that is clinically meaningful. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) defines […]

Read More…

The best interest standard and the ethical work it does in making medical and public policy decisions for children

By Johan Bester For a while now, I’ve been interested in ethical questions in medicine and public policy concerning children. It started with my work on vaccination ethics, which continues to raise ethical questions of various kinds. Things like: What is the source and limits of parental authority over children? What do we do when […]

Read More…

The fetishisation of clinical guidelines

By Charles Foster The Supreme Court has recently, in An NHS Trust v Y decided that adherence to guidelines produced by various medical organisations will safeguard adequately against inappropriate withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from patients in vegetative state/Minimally Conscious State. I have criticised that decision in detail in an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics […]

Read More…

Access to Primary Care in a ‘Hostile Environment’

By Rose Glennerster and Nathan Hodson Last month 20 British doctors returned the medals they received in recognition of their work during the Ebola crisis. They were protesting against the extensions of the government’s “hostile environment” policy into healthcare, highlighting the case of Albert Thompson, a Windrush migrant who had lived in the UK for […]

Read More…

We need more arguments in clinical ethics

By Melanie Jansen Ethics is a philosophical discipline. The bedrock of philosophical scholarship is the construction of arguments – a set of reasons that justify a particular position. Philosophers spend years cultivating critical reasoning skills and applying them to many and varied problems. While philosophy has universal application, it is often erroneously perceived as an […]

Read More…

Advance decisions in dementia: when the past conflicts with the present

By George Gillett Last month, the Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee wrote an article in support of assisted dying. She wrote about Katherine Whitehorn, her former colleague at the Observer. Describing Whitehorn, Toynbee writes: She is not herself. Her old self would not recognise herself in this other being who sits in the care home. What […]

Read More…

A sales rep and a doctor walk into a theatre – why this is no joke

By Quinn Grundy, Katrina Hutchison, Jane Johnson, Brette Blakely, Robyn Clay-Wlliams, Bernadette Richards, Wendy A Rogers Imagine that your elderly mother undergoes a hip replacement. During the post-operative appointment, the surgeon informs your mother that an error has been made: the two parts of the joint implant, a ball and socket, are mismatched. He explains that […]

Read More…

A Moral Framework for Living Donor Transplantation

By Lainie Friedman Ross and J. Richard Thistlethwaite Living donor transplantation has been controversial since its inception because it exposes donors to medical risks for the medical benefit of their intended recipients. The usual bioethics argument about the moral permissibility of living kidney donation focuses on the concept of respect for persons which is often […]

Read More…

A Novel Approach to Compassionate Use Allocation

By Lisa Kearns, Alison S. Bateman-House, Arthur L. Caplan, J. Russell Teagarden When seriously ill patients cannot enroll in clinical trials and have run out of treatment options, they may ask pharmaceutical manufacturers for “compassionate use” of their drugs in development, knowing that the drugs are experimental and may not help. These are tricky decisions for […]

Read More…

Organismal death, the dead donor rule and the ethics of vital organ procurement

Guest Authors:  Xavier Symons, Institute for Ethics and Society, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Reginald Mary Chua, Philosophy, Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Paper: Organismal death, the dead donor rule and the ethics of vital organ procurement The brain death criterion for death (as it is currently understood in medical practice) was first propounded in 1968 by an […]

Read More…