The Bioethics Podcast 2008

The Bioethics Podcast is an audio resource exploring the pressing bioethical challenges of our day featuring staff, fellows, and associates of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. For more information, click here for The Bioethics Podcast FAQ

Extracts from chapter 2 of Christian Bioethics: A Guide for the Perplexed

Issues: 

Arguing on Lockean lines, the Princeton philosopher Peter Singer adopts as sole criterion of personhood the actual possession of certain mental abilities, among them self-consciousness and a degree of rationality. For this reason he does not count all members of the human family as persons. So who does he count as a person?

Podcast Episode: 
90

What Has Justice to Do with Medical Quality and Safety? Care, Cultural Diversity, and the Vulnerable among Us

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In 2007, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy (AHRQ) reported that not only do significant disparities in healthcare quality exist between whites and minorities, but that these disparities have not been reduced in recent years.1 In fact, 60% of the clearly documented disparities did not decrease significantly on follow up. The metrics applied were comprehensive in that 42 measures of quality and 8 measures of access to care were evaluated.

Podcast Episode: 
89

The Challenges of Biotechnology: An interview with C. Ben Mitchell, PhD and John Kilner, PhD

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As technology continues to advance rapidly, it has begun to affect the very nature of what it means to be human.

Do we as the church weigh the costs and benefits before participating in these technologies? In Biotechnology and the Human Good (Georgetown University Press, 2007), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professors Dr. John Kilner and Dr. C. Ben Mitchell join the Chair of the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, University of Chicago professor Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Biola University Professor Dr. Scott Rae to consider the nature of biotechnology from a Christian perspective and ways in which we can evaluate current trends.

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88

The Old Testament and the Sanctity of Life

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I have long promised to offer on this website glimpses into my new book on the sanctity of life, which will be published in the Eerdmans/CBHD “Critical Issues in Bioethics” series. I am happy to finally begin delivering on that promise.

In an earlier column I offered my working definition of the sanctity of human life. It is worth repeating here. I keep it in front of me as a plumb line as I write this book each day:

Podcast Episode: 
87

A Tale of Two Centers: The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity

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John Kilner was working at the Center for the Study of Health, Faith, and Ethicswhen, in the summer of 1993, he joined fourteen other leaders in bioethics to evaluate the state of Christian bioethics in North America. A graduate of both Yale and Harvard, Kilner had been researching and teaching ethics for two decades. As he joined Nigel Cameron, Harold O. J. Brown, Ben Mitchell, and others around a table in Trinity's Rockford Room, the problem was clear: There was little to no evangelical engagement of these issues. Furthermore, there was no vehicle to bring Christians together across institutional and denominational lines to try to foster that engagement.

Podcast Episode: 
86

Revisiting an Ethical Conundrum: An Older Person’s Friend or a Renewed Assault on the Biologically Tenacious?

Should older persons suffering the ravages of advanced dementia be treated with antibiotics for intervening infections? The manner in which this argument is framed is in many ways predictive of how one defines personhood.

Podcast Episode: 
85

Why I Founded CBHD: Some Personal Reflections 15 Years on

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But in all these busy years it seemed to me that one effort would be perhaps the most consequent: our initiatives in bioethics. I had focused on this emerging field since the early 80s, having established the journal Ethics and Medicine in 1983. It surprised me much back in the UK that evangelical Christians seemed so little interested in anything beyond abortion, just as the wider world was shaping a multidisciplinary effort with the relations of human nature and technology at its epicenter of its agenda. When we moved stateside, surprise turned into astonishment. Here was the home of “bioethics” (it is basically an American invention) and here is also the global base of the pro-life movement. And here was a nation uniquely endowed with religious institutions and resources. Had no-one joined the dots?

Podcast Episode: 
84

Is It Permissible to Shut Off this Pacemaker?

The ethics consultant met with the patient and two of her daughters. Dorthea says she wants to die now because (a) she misses her husband who died three years ago after 45 years of marriage; they were very close, did everything together, and she says she can’t live without him; (b) she can’t stand to live in their home (memories), but refuses to move; and (c) she wants to “set her children free.” She has resisted attempts by her three daughters who have encouraged treatment, including grief counseling, and have even offered for her to live with them. She has guns in her home and knows how to use them, but she says she is unwilling to take her own life. She is an inactive Methodist. She says her only pleasure is having her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit, but she feels her misery is also making them miserable.

Podcast Episode: 
83

Permissibility to Stop Off-Label Use of Expensive Drug Treatment for Child

Is it ethically permissible to stop the off-label use[1] of an expensive drug in this child with Gaucher’s disease since it is likely not working and she may be suffering because of its continued use?

Podcast Episode: 
82

停止施於兒童之昂貴藥物的適應症外使用

  

  

Podcast Episode: 
82

Permissibility to Stop Man's Ventilator on His Request

Is it ethically permissible to stop this man’s ventilator at his request?

Podcast Episode: 
81

In the Twilight of Aging, a Twinkle of Hope - Part 2

Issues: 

The arrival of grey hairs can signify both the attainment of wisdom and the accumulation of age. In the words of Solomon of old, grey hair "is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."(Proverbs 16:31, NIV) Grey hair is also a visible reminder of the uncertainty of maintaining mental faculties in old age. For many people, the prospect of deterioration in brain function is feared more than any other ailment of aging. Joints may give way and vision dim without eroding personal integrity. The brain, however, is essential to who we are. Its grey matter is the centerpiece of the living tapestry of personal identity.

Podcast Episode: 
80

In the Twilight of Aging, a Twinkle of Hope - Part 1

Issues: 

The arrival of grey hairs can signify both the attainment of wisdom and the accumulation of age. In the words of Solomon of old, grey hair "is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."(Proverbs 16:31, NIV) Grey hair is also a visible reminder of the uncertainty of maintaining mental faculties in old age. For many people, the prospect of deterioration in brain function is feared more than any other ailment of aging. Joints may give way and vision dim without eroding personal integrity. The brain, however, is essential to who we are. Its grey matter is the centerpiece of the living tapestry of personal identity.

Podcast Episode: 
79

Christian-Hippocratism, Confidentiality, and Managed Care: A Volatile Mix

With these words the Hippocratic Oath places confidentiality squarely in the context of the medical ethos. Confidentiality in the physician-patient relationship is a good, but not an absolute good or the so-called summum bonum. The words of the Oath also imply that certain shared admissions--like threatened mortal danger to another--may supercede the relative good of confidentiality. Protection of life is something that allows sharing of what otherwise ought not to be spoken abroad.

Podcast Episode: 
78

Is Aging a Disease Worth Fighting?

Few people would have moral problems with research to find the genetic links to aging and to age-related diseases. Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, and other illnesses generally associated with aging are clearly worth fighting. So the news that University of Illinois researchers have found a single gene, "p21," that might be linked to age-related diseases is, all things being equal, good news.

Podcast Episode: 
77

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