Clinical & Medical Ethics

Discerning Palliative Sedation from Euthanasia: What’s at Stake for Human Dignity

The last presidential election saw Washington become the second state to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS).  Pressure will increase for other states to follow suit so that those who are terminally ill can exercise the full scope of their “autonomy” and “die with dignity” through PAS if they so choose. Many concerned persons see trends toward legalizing PAS and the broad acceptance of euthanasia as not upholding the inherent dignity of human persons as is often claimed, but actually undermining it. 

Podcast Episode: 
129

When I Was Hungry, You Gave Me to Eat: The Dignity of Hand Feeding in Persons with Dementia

Preserving the dignity of those who inhabit Nursing Homes at the end of life—individuals frequently bearing the concurrent burden of dementia— is a critical feature of cultures that embrace compassion. In the United States, such persons comprise a demographic estimated at five million. One demanding aspect of care in this population is feeding. The ethical dilemma resides in the choice between hand feeding by staff or family versus feeding tubes. Hand feeding is adopted when it is comfortable and safe, that is, unaccompanied by aspiration; and although human intimacy integral to hand feeding would be preferable, feeding tubes have become de rigueur in contemporary medical practice. As Kenneth Ludmerer poignantly asked, might the efficiency in time and effort derived from feeding tubes, as well as their reimbursement as medical procedures, be the dynamic driving choice in this context?[1] Recent publications are noteworthy in this regard.

Podcast Episode: 
145

On the Permissibility of a DNR Order for Patient with Dismal Prognosis

Editor’s Note: The following consultation report is based on a real clinical dilemma that led to a request for an ethics consultation. Some details have been changed to preserve patient privacy. The goal of this column is to address ethical dilemmas faced by patients, families and healthcare professionals, offering careful analysis and recommendations that are consistent with biblical standards.

Podcast Episode: 
121

勿傷害?

  

  

Podcast Episode: 
116

Do no harm?

One Christian-Hippocratic position pertaining to the essentials of ethical medical practice has been unequivocal. There should be total separation between “black and white” medicine as described through the pregnant admonition: “do no harm.” Originally, the “black” side of medicine could be summarized neatly by two activities proscribed within the body of the Hippocratic Oath itself, abortion and euthanasia (or assisted suicide).

Podcast Episode: 
116

懷孕婦女的權利與責任

  

  

Podcast Episode: 
106

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