For as long as we have had medical care, doctors have always faced tough choices. One area where this is increasingly being played out is in Neonatal Care Units, where 500,000 premature American babies are cared for each year.
This week, a 17-member advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend the approval of the first-ever completely in-home HIV test. But Art Caplan, professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, sees some major ethical dilemmas facing this major medical development.
A new plan from Facebook encourages everyone on the social network to advertise their donor status on their pages, along with their birth dates and schools. Could the plan be a slippery slope linking medical information and social media? Jeff Jarvis is professor of journalism at City University of New York. Art Caplan is a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Citizens Medical Center is, by most measures, a respected and respectable hospital. A non-profit, their mission is to serve their community of South Texas. And in their mission, they’ve been mostly successful, appearing on Thomas Reuters’ list of top 100 American hospitals three times over the past decade.
And yet, the Victoria, Texas hospital has people across the country outraged. The reason: a hiring policy they instituted last year. In short, the policy requires potential employees to have a body mass index below 35. This means that a man who is 5-foot-10 and 245 pounds would not meet the hospital’s hiring requirements.
Three-year-old Amelia Rivera has a rare genetic disease called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. She suffers from mental impairment, epileptic-like seizures, and she can't walk or talk. Besides her illness she's in desperate need of a kidney transplant to live to see her fourth birthday. But the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Amelia is treated, told Amelia’s family that they would not perform a transplant even if a family member donates a kidney. The reason, according to her mother's blog, is because she is “mentally retarded.”
In Cleveland, Ohio an 8-year-old boy was removed from his home on the grounds that his severe obesity was the fault of his parental care. The young boy weighed over 200 pounds. For comparison, the average weight of an 8-year-old boy is about 60 pounds. The question isn't whether the boy was overweight, or whether his family could have done more in the 20 months that they were notified that his weight was a serious problem under consideration by the state. The question is whether or not foster care is really the best way to solve extreme obesity.
A working group of The National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) has endorsed a plan to test anthrax vaccines on healthy children. The NBSB, which advises the federal government, says scientist should inject healthy children with BioThrax, the anthrax vaccine, to see if it is as effective on children as it is in adults. The Obama administration is now weighing the controversial step of subjecting children to possibly risky medical testing against waiting for an attack to happen and collecting data afterwards.
When Seth Godin, who writes a popular blog at sethgodin.com, learned that his friend and colleague Amit Gupta had leukemia, he quickly offered up a challenge to his readers: the first bone marrow donor match to Gupta who would donate stem cells would receive $10,000. Gupta, who is of South Indian descent, is a poor candidate for a bone marrow match in this country, where minorities in general — and South Indians specifically — are under-represented in the donor pool.
Blogger Seth Godin wanted to help his friend and colleague Amit Gupta, who has leukemia, so he offered up a challenge to his readers: the first bone marrow donor match to Gupta who would donate stem cells would receive $10,000. But under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, better known as NOTA, it’s a federal crime to give or receive "valuable consideration" for any transplantable organ or tissue, specifically including bone marrow. And beyond the legal aspects, some people may find Godin's gesture ethically questionable.
The World Health Organization meets Wednesday to try to set a deadline to destroy the last known stocks of Smallpox. The disease killed hundreds of millions of people until a global campaign finally ended the virus in 1980. The success of the vaccine is a major medical feat. However, there are only two known repositories of the virus, which are held in U.S. and Russia; and these two countries are fighting international efforts to destroy the samples, claiming that they are necessary for research to combat bioterrorism.
U.S. officials have apologized for shockingly immoral experiments done on hundreds of Guatemalans in the 1940s, in an effort to test the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis.
From 1946 to 1948, American public health doctors deliberately infected nearly 700 Guatemalan prison inmates, mental patients and soldiers, as part of the experiment. In some instances, syphilis-infected prostitutes were paid to sleep with prisoners, as part of the testing.