Posts by D. Joy Riley MD, MA (Ethics)
The Importance of Definitions
Definitions are important for what they say—and for what they do not say. Consider the definition of human trafficking. “Trafficking in persons” (TIP) is defined by the U.S. Department of Defense as “the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel persons to provide labor or services or commercial sex. TIP involves exploitation of all types. TIP can include elements of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for the purpose of exploitation.” The U.S. Department of State declares, “Human trafficking deprives millions worldwide of their dignity and freedom. It undermines national security, distorts markets, and enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and is an affront to our universal values. At-risk populations can face deceitful recruitment practices by those bent on exploiting them for labor or commercial sex….” Interestingly, there is no mention of exchanging human beings for money as a definition of human trafficking, yet it seems that buying and selling humans would qualify as “human trafficking.”Read More
MAiD in Canada
Free trade between Canada and the United States has been a reality since the 1980s. Thaddeus Pope, on his Medical Futility Blog, recently posted a video that shows a Canadian female physician who obviously wishes to export a dangerous idea to her southern neighbor. Although Canada does not hold the corner on the market of assisted suicide or euthanasia, Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) in Canada is not an import we need in the United States.Read More
Is There a Robot in the House?
Imagine instructing your patients to tell their problems to a little yellow, happy-faced, big-blue-eyed robot instead of you. On the face of it, it seems an obvious way to reduce costs—no salary for the robot, no health insurance and no 401(k). And the robot does not take up space in the hospital or office. It is a home-body.Read More
Who is Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte?
Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte is trained in pharmacy and biochemistry and is a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, in the Gene Expression Laboratories. He has been at the Salk Institute since 1993. He also held a position in Spain during 10 of those years. He helped found the Barcelona Regenerative Medicine Center (CMRB), a stem cell research institution, in 2004. He left the CMRB director’s post in 2014, citing lack of funding and support from the government. Of the center’s 21 projects, he took 18 with him, for they were his intellectual property.Read More
In Favor of Organ Donation?
The Department of Health & Social Care of GOV.UK recently notified its email subscribers of a new law regarding organ donation in England. Beginning in 2020, “Everyone in England over the age of 18 will be considered to be in favour of donating their organs and tissues after death unless: They have said they don’t want to donate their organs (they have ‘opted out’). They have appointed a representative to decide for them after their death. They are in one of the excluded groups – under the age of 18, ordinarily resident in England for less than 12 months before their death, or lack mental capacity for a significant period before their death.”Read More
Who Are We?
“We started it,” Dr. Atul Gawande told Vox interviewer Sarah Kliff in 2017 when he was asked about the opioid epidemic. Dr. Gawande, a surgeon and author, was referring to the role healthcare professionals played in producing the staggering number of opioid overdose deaths in the United States.Read More
No Politics in the Exam Room?
One of the many reasons I entered the medical field was because I innocently thought medicine was apolitical. It did not take very long to see—even as a medical student—how very wrong-headed that idea was! So it was with some surprise that I read recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) the article about Leana Wen, MD, entitled, “New Planned Parenthood President: No Politics in the Exam Room.”Read More
Applying Pressure to the 14-Day Rule
Conducting research on embryos beyond 14 days’ gestation is against the law in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom; the U.S. has only “guidelines” recommending the 14-day limit. Now researchers and others are pushing against that limit. They find it too confining. Where did this rule/guideline originate?Read More