Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: Video chronicles abortion clinic horrors, Administration invites help in battling human trafficking, and CMDA and others urge HHS to reconsider contraceptives mandate.

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How many times have you gone to clinic when you were sicker than the patients you were treating? Listened to other people’s woes and stresses when your own were weightier? Given your last emotional resources to a patient whose need was less than your family member’s? Forfeited sleep while advising a patient of how curative it is? Advised a patient about nutrition and exercise right after scarfing a quick lunch from the vending machine?

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My eldest child left for college this fall, having chosen to attend school in Scotland. Yes, that’s right. Scotland. It’s a long way away. It’s also a place I had never previously visited. We went on a family trip to Scotland in March—partly to visit the school he now attends, and partly to have one last bang-up family vacation before we became a family that no longer lives under one roof. On that trip, we had not one, but two, flat tires on our rental car. A consequence of our struggles driving on the left side of the road, perhaps?

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I was looking up some information on the American Association for Physician Leadership website when an article caught my eye: “Are You a Narcissist?” I hadn’t decided what I was going to blog about this month; not surprisingly, narcissism was not on the list of things I was considering. But the article piqued my interest, so I clicked on the link and read the entire thing. There was even a quiz I could use to find out if I am a narcissist. You will be relieved to know I “passed” the quiz with a non-narcissist score! That was reassuring, but I was curious as to why this article interested me so much.

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Facing the Rise of Suicides in Healthcare

As a second year medical student, a member of my medical school class committed suicide. I didn’t know him well, but his death impacted me. Made me ask a lot of questions. Why didn’t I know him better? Had I gotten to know him, could I have made a difference?

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Preparing to meet my next patient, I pick the next chart up off the counter. “Bob Smith,” married middle-aged patient, chief complaint: STD check. “Weird,” I think, “Mary Smith’s husband’s name is Bob, too. What a coincidence.” I open the exam room door, and Mary Smith’s husband, Bob Smith, is sitting inside.

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According to a 2009 article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, “Approximately 10% to 12% of physicians will develop a substance use disorder during their careers, a rate similar to or exceeding that of the general population.” But while our addiction rate may be similar to the rest of the country, the characteristics and consequences of our addictions are not.

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Doctors have had a bad rap on the marriage front for a number of years. We’ve long been accused of having a much higher divorce rate than the general public. For many years, there was not a lot of data on healthcare marriages, but strongly held popular opinion characterized a high percentage of us as overworked divorcees whose devotion to our patients cost us our marriages.

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And so begins a New York Times article about the recent JAMA Internal Medicine analysis of physician pay disparities. The central message of the analysis is that women in healthcare, on average, earn $20,000 less per year than their specialty-matched male colleagues.

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It was a relatively slow evening at work when I got the text. My phone vibrated on the clinic countertop as I was looking over a chart. “Are you busy? Can you talk?” I figured those words couldn’t be good, coming as they did from a young intern I mentored when she was a medical student. I found myself wondering if she had lost a patient.

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Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this issue: Measles outbreak raising national concerns, The death of physician-assisted suicide in Colorado, and Illinois approves child use of medical marijuana.

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Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this issue: In this edition: Terminally ill patient ends her life, Tennessee passes abortion amendment, and Public supports quarantine for Ebola health workers.

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Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: Researchers harvest stem cells from cloned human embryos, Assisted suicide advocates make their case in JAMA, and SCOTUS hears case on free speech re: abortion in Obamacare.

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Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: CMDA religious freedom commentary on Fox News, Supreme Court hears religious freedom, contraceptives cases, and Quebec election 2014 may speed euthanasia legalization; doctors protest.

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A commentary from CMDA CEO David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics) about CMDA’s testimony before Congress regarding the Affordable Care Act. Excerpted from written testimony by the Christian Medical Association submitted to the United States House of Representatives, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives. The Subcommittee held a hearing July 10, 2012, “The Affordable Care Act (ACA): Impact on Doctors and Patients.”

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Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: New Poll Results on Physician-Assisted Suicide, Obamacare May Trigger Exodus of Christian Doctors, and Doctors Look For A Way Off The Medical Hamster Wheel.

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Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: CMDA human trafficking expert teaches doctors and students, Washington Post: Zygote is not a “living being” and Lawmakers focusing on abortion and harms to women.

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Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: High court rules on two cases on same-sex marriage, and SCOTUS strikes “prostitution pledge” requirement for AIDS, human trafficking grants.

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In this edition of The Point: CMDA physicians on human cloning study revelation, Vermont to legalize physician-assisted suicide, Use Of Embryo Donation As A Family Building Option.

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The heroes are the best-known acronyms in the world of AIDS (PEPFAR, UNAIDS, WHO), the Global Fund and a host of NGOs. Together, these organizations have waged total war against AIDS in Africa—or what looks like total war if you compare it to efforts devoted to other diseases.

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Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

Commentary and update on the state of legislative activities in Washington involving CMDA member interests. In this edition of The Point: CMA human trafficking commentary published in Washington Times, House pushed to pass conscience protections, and Miss America promotes sexual risk avoidance education.

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Testimony offered by Richard M. Doerflinger about physician-assisted suicide before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution regarding the Pain Relief Promotion Act.

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Our family has an unofficial mascot—a little bendable Gumby doll. I have no idea where Gumby came from or how exactly we acquired him. He started out as a little game in which various family members move Gumby to different places around the house. When you find Gumby, you move him somewhere else where he awaits discovery by another family member. Over the years, we have adopted an unofficial motto that goes with our unofficial mascot: “Semper Gumby” (always flexible). As is true of numerous other healthcare professionals, flexibility is not my strong suit. I am really good at focus, goals, determination and persistence. Flexibility, not so much. So “Semper Gumby” is a motto for me as much as anyone else in the house. A reminder that flexibility is a necessary part of doing life with other people.

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“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV

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The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) printed a rare and important correction this month. A study claiming to be the “first total population study of transgender individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis” was published in the October 2019 AJP titled “Reduction in mental health treatment utilization among transgender individuals after gender-affirming surgeries: a total population study.” Seven letters to the editor from 12 authors, myself included, resulted in a data reanalysis and subsequent correction statement that no improvement was demonstrated with surgical treatment. Now for the setting and major points of my team’s published letter.

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With recent discussions about allocation of scarce resources with the COVID-19 pandemic, concern has been raised about ensuring justice across all ethnic and political lines in caring for our patients. If allocation is determined based on anticipated quality life years based on treatment, then an inherent bias is baked in against the elderly. If likelihood of good outcome is a major criterion, then patients with higher levels of pre-existing disease will lose out. An example of this would be that among certain ethnic/racial populations there is at baseline a higher proportion of people with underlying heart, lung, metabolic or environmental disease. The African American population, in general, has a lower life expectancy, based on these factors, so if one weighs the allocation models to provide support for healthier patients, they will disadvantage people of color in distribution of ventilators, ICU beds and hospital admissions. Similar claims are made regarding people from other minority groups based on religion, gender, socio-economic class, educational attainment, etc.

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“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight”
(1 Corinthians 3:19a, NIV 1984).

We have seen the devastation, societal decay and moral rot caused by the perpetuation of human wisdom and reasoning. Many in the world call what is “evil, good” and what is “good, evil.” Such reasoning creates a propensity for lawlessness and disintegration. People reject the truth and divine guidance, while also truly casting off restraint (Proverbs 29:18). If such actions lead to decay, what then leads to life?

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In Part 1 of this series , we looked at two common objections to a traditional Christian view of sexuality: “What about other Old Testament rules we don’t keep?” and “The New Testament teaching on sexuality was socially constructed and not intended for universal application.” In this second part, we will examine two more recent arguments that have become quite popular and, to some, deceptively persuasive.

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What is the foundation of your moral principles?

If you consider that a simple question, you’ve never really thought about it much.

The gut reaction of most Protestants would be “Scripture”—certainly a fitting place to begin—but when one drills down into the details, things get complicated rather quickly. For decades, theological liberals have dismissed biblical teaching on sexuality because they dismiss the Bible. In more recent years, a newer contingent rejects traditional Christian teaching on sexuality arguing that “the Bible never taught it in the first place.”

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Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) has tackled race issues in healthcare proactively, gathering members together for prayer and fasting, webinars, public policy statements, articles, discussions, video presentations and more while pledging to “continue seeking to oppose racism in healthcare and society and pursuing justice in access to healthcare and equitable outcomes.”

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Is reality subjective or objective?

A new hermeneutic of reality is arising: converting objective physical reality into subjective reality.

The rapid rise of the transgender movement and the denunciation of physical reality inherent in that movement has stunned countless conservatives and especially evangelical Christians. Transgender ideologues are not interested in prioritizing one aspect of physical reality over another. Instead, they want to subvert objective reality to a new subjective reality defined by the individual and the movement.

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When this pandemic started, I, at least, had heard of Zoom. My husband Don, also a family physician, had no clue. We’re both in our 60s and feel simultaneously confused and outdated whenever a new form of technology emerges. Picture a donkey leaning back on the rope held by someone trying to drag it forward. You get the idea.

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I love the opportunity to write for CMDA on a regular basis. I always sit down at the computer and words flow out of my heart and out of whatever I am experiencing at that point in time. It has been a new experience to struggle so much with my blog entry this month. I have written four or five entries—and every single one of them is depressing and discouraging, and also very similar to the one I wrote on my last assigned blog date. I keep trying, and I keep coming up pretty empty. It’s only after attempt number four or five that it occurred to me to think about the emptiness itself.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on June 12 that it had “finalized a rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that maintains vigorous enforcement of federal civil rights laws on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex, and restores the rule of law by revising certain provisions that go beyond the plain meaning of the law as enacted by Congress.”

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Conscience rights are constitutional priorities as well as professional and personal necessities for free people, and these enjoy strong and historic support from the legislature, executive branch and judiciary. They are worth defending, especially when misrepresented and misunderstood.

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OK. The ad is hypothetical, I’ll admit. But only a little. A just-released report on human sexuality issued a clarion call for Christian apologists to step up and counter the increasingly toxic cultural narrative on human sexuality. That narrative—or perhaps narratives, since some are severely at odds—has led to increasing radicalism and polarization, leaving a tide of refugees in its wake.

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The viral attack hit especially in the major metropolitan epicenters, and many doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other healthcare professionals stayed at work in the trenches, came out of retirement or traveled long distances to volunteer their services to aid those in distress.

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Courtesy: Samaritan's Purse Facebook

In New York City, pronouncements against the volunteer work of the Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse revealed venomous anti-Christian attitudes. Because Samaritan’s Purse, led by Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, adheres to a biblical view of marriage, some New Yorkers would have had the group kicked out of the city rather than allowed to help save lives.

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After 10 weeks of avoiding people, I realize how much I miss them. People, that is. I always thought I disliked crowds, but now I find myself missing crowds also. People bring me pleasure. People are precious.

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We are living in a highly polarized society. Disagreeing opinions have very little overlap, making compromise difficult. People talk more than they hear, and they hear more than they listen. People rally and argue and protest, but they rarely build bridges across the divides. Political candidates represent the extreme ends of their party’s platform, and those in the middle are accused of being weak on issues. Opinions on social media are strongly worded and leave no room for useful discussion. Family members have broken fellowship over the Trump v. Clinton election. Friendships are strained over differing definitions of social distancing. The world we live in is broken, and people are afraid. Fear, in fact, is the most insidious form of brokenness. It penetrates the very marrow of our character and changes our motivations. The values and ideals we hold dear are corrupted by fear such that we no longer act based on what we believe, but rather out of avoidance of what we fear.

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Ethical considerations should have a priority place in science and medicine. Promoting sound bioethics promotes confidence in doctors and scientists and their work, among peers, the public and policymakers. This is certainly seen in the recent ethically-guided decisions around federal funding of research with fetal tissue from elective abortions. Ethical guardrails help focus precious research funds on projects with best chance of success and benefit for all. Even in a crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, illumination of the ethical vs. unethical proposals can educate and serve to focus attention and resources on the paths that will benefit all.

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Since the time of Job, people have struggled with depression. Depression isolates, as it causes sufferers to withdraw from others. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding depression often reinforces the isolation. Not only do others stigmatize those who are depressed, but depressed individuals often believe these misunderstandings about themselves and experience shame. This shame arises from ignorance and misunderstanding about the nature of depression.

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Per Alliance Defending Freedom: “Freedom of conscience means you are free to carry out your moral duty without fear of government coercion or punishment.”

Also, it need not be faith-based to count. Conscience is conscience, and these rights protect our atheist colleagues as they do us. Canadian philosopher Edward Tingley explains that conscience rights protect those who object to the norm of what even a majority thinks is right, and they apply when (1) a cogent claim can be made that (2) grave wrong is done. The claim of wrong needs only to be serious and defensible.

Conscience rights exist precisely to protect someone who disagrees with majority consensus. They specifically protect unpopular opinions. The objection needs only to be serious and defensible.

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The world is caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has changed our lives, and it will continue to change the lives of people all over the world for years to come. Schools, churches, businesses, restaurants, sporting events and entire countries are closed or are placed under lockdown. Shelter-in-place, an old term, unknown to most, is now widely used, and it affects, by some estimates, more than half the country. At any hour of the day or night, one can find the most up-to-date tallies for morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and around the world. This led me to three observations.

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is universally applied in cardiac standstill, unless a physician order is given to Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). CPR is the only procedure that can be performed without a physician order; a nurse cannot give aspirin, start an IV or feed a patient without an order. However, CPR is the automatic default when the heart stops. This universal application has created several ethical issues, and the current pandemic now has us questioning if CPR should be the automatic default.

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Conscience Freedoms Protect Against Ideological Agendas April 5, 2018

American novelist James Lane Allen wrote, “Adversity does not build character; it reveals it.” The response by the governments of countries around the world to the COVID-19 Coronavirus is revealing the fundamental character of those governments.

As the U.S., state and local governments and healthcare professionals labor tirelessly in compassionate and effective efforts to protect American citizens from the spreading COVID-19 Coronavirus, governments in certain countries instead are reportedly exposing persecuted religious groups to the threat.

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I’ve been a family doctor in the same location for 30 years, so many of my patients have been with me a decade…or two…or three. Following people through their life stages has been a joy. We’ve grown older together. I’ve been acutely aware of this in the last two weeks as I’ve called patients to reschedule them. I’ve wanted to call them myself to make sure they don’t need anything, because I’d rather they avoid any medical facility for the next six months.

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My 21-year-old son attends university in Scotland. Scotland is a beautiful country filled with some of the loveliest people I have met in my travels. They are warm, friendly and willing to help a stranger, even if you can’t always understand what they are saying to you. Those thick Scottish brogues can be difficult! Just sayin’.

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Should ethical considerations have a place in science and medicine? Should ethics reviews be a standard part of science proposal reviews? Some scientists have said one reason they don’t consult ethicists or think about the ethical implications of their research is because ethicists usually say “no” to new technologies or because ethics is arbitrary. But what they are really avoiding is the necessity of setting rational limits on science, thinking they can thereby avoid any limits on their work. Limits that protect all human beings—even nascent human life—are neither arbitrary nor irrational. Such limits offer essential protections against abuses that could actually tarnish the image and standing of science, and limits also provide us opportunities to appreciate our shared humanity. These limits are not barriers but rather channels to move the scientific endeavor onto more productive ground. Science and ethics are not diametrically opposed approaches. In fact, in most cases the two walk hand in hand, enjoying each other’s company and benefitting from the shared journey.

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Barna research has reported that “Half of Christian pastors say they frequently (11%) or occasionally (39%) feel limited in their ability to speak out on moral and social issues because people will take offense. The other half of pastors say they only rarely (30%) or never (20%) feel limited in this way.”

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British general practitioner Sally Howard wondered in The BMJ, “…the significant majority of children do resolve their gender ID in favour of their natal sex by adulthood. Where is the advocacy for the mental health needs of that majority?” Where, indeed.

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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.”

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On October 27, 1997, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Many Americans were shocked and dismayed at this development. Over time, more and more people have accepted physician-assisted suicide, and it continues to gain momentum.

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The abortion industry launched a lawsuit after the state of Louisiana passed Act 620, which required “that every physician who performs or induces an abortion shall ‘have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.’” To many observers, such a requirement obviously would help protect women who experience adverse events from an abortion.

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I came across two journal articles in November that grabbed my attention. One was in The Lancet, while the other was in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), which is my general surgery specialty’s journal. These articles further opened my eyes to the pollution of medical science by political ideologies. Some of you may be thinking, “Hey, Chupp, where have you been?!”

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How does a Christian measure the substance of a life? By what was accumulated? Not hardly. At least no serious Christ-follower is going to pick that answer. What about by influence? Now that is something that may resonate. By influencing others, we carry on our earthly work beyond our lifetime.

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I sometimes feel pretty low. I might be the only one…but I’m guessing not. Emotions are a part of what it is to be human, right? So, I imagine all of us feel down at one time or another. For me, the first couple of weeks after the holidays are always a down time. Something about coming off the merry-go-round of activity, fun, people, parties, food, drinks and general busyness, taking down the decorations and returning to real life. This year, those feelings were compounded by sending two kids back to college and then being in bed for a week with the flu (despite my flu shot!). What a return to reality.

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Gene Editing to Make Better Human Beings? September 14, 2017

The story of the gene-edited babies birthed in China continues to reverberate around the world. To review, the Chinese scientist He Jiankui disclosed in late 2018 that he had used gene editing tools to create genetically-modified human embryos, and he then gestated the embryos to birth. He discussed his experiments on the twin girls at an international genetics meeting co-sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. While most of the scientific community condemned the experiments, some of the outrage seemed feigned. Nonetheless, in the months following his announcement, there were calls from leading scientists and ethicists for a global moratorium on human heritable genome editing and wide-ranging discussions on the ethics of manipulating the human genome. Over 60 global leaders wrote to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, saying “We write as scientific, industry, and bioethics leaders who are committed to translating the promise of gene editing into medicines to help patients in need, to express our views strongly condemning the recent reports of the birth of CRISPR-edited infants in China and to urge you to take action.”

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Since CMDA opened its Washington, D.C. federal public policy ministry office in 2000, God has opened doors for influence that have far exceeded all that we could ask or imagine. The following few highlights of last year (organized by months, with the most recent first) illustrate how God is using this ministry to advance kingdom values in our government.

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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.

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Yesterday I attended a seminar at our hospital entitled “Immigration Ethics.” I was hoping to be enlightened on this complicated topic. Unfortunately, the only messages I got were that immigrants are people, too, and we should be humane in dealing with them. I heartily agree with these two points, but the issue is complex and entails a number of points on which many people cannot agree. One major question in discussing this is whether we are referring to legally documented or undocumented immigrants. Most of us are grateful for the legal, highly skilled immigrant engineers, scientists and physicians who make our lives better in many ways.

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Conscience Freedoms Protect Against Ideological Agendas April 5, 2018

This month’s blog provides updates on two Christian Medical & Dental Associations federal lawsuits. The following case updates are information and help for healthcare professionals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of their faith and conscience.

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In medical school, were you taught to treat all patients with equal care and concern? Were you taught that it is unethical to discriminate against patients—refusing to treat someone or treating them less thoroughly—based on race, nationality, religion or even ability to pay? Were you taught to respect the beliefs of each patient, even while trying to explain how some of those beliefs might be harming their health?

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Medical breakthroughs are routinely touted in the media, whether they are actual breakthroughs or promising, potential information. Press outlets often make no distinction between real, evidence-based progress that can impact patients versus wished-for projections that can influence funding of projects. Rarely are the ethical choices noted regarding use, or development, of the research.

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This is my first opportunity to write for The Point since joining CMDA’s executive team in September 2016. That was a huge transitioning summer for my family, moving from Tenwek Hospital in Kenya to Bristol, Tennessee by way of St. Joseph, Michigan, where I had been a general surgeon partner in a multispecialty practice for 23 years.

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The “Parent Resource Guide: Responding to the Transgender Issue” is a just-released project of the Minnesota Family Council available gratis at www.GenderResourceGuide.com. Print copies can be purchased as well.
It is endorsed by organizations right (Heritage Foundation and Family Policy Alliance), center (Kelsey Coalition and Parents of ROGD Kids) and left (Women’s Liberation Front). Their stated common concerns are the “negative consequences that result when society regards bodily sex as irrelevant,” and the belief that “public schools should never feel pressured to force boys and girls to sacrifice their bodily privacy, promote unscientific theories about human biology, or celebrate ideas that place young children on a path to chemical sterilization or cosmetic ‘gender confirmation’ surgery.” I was honored to be one of many who were invited to help shape its content.

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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.

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If you ever want the entire world to know about the skeletons in your closet, run for political office. In the last year or so, we have heard countless accusations thrown at almost all of the potential presidential candidates, judicial nominees and current senators and representatives. A few of these may even be true! We may never know. Nonetheless, our country continues to function reasonably well under the guidance of these allegedly flawed leaders.

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Faith-based health professionals care with compassion and respect for all patients, but they will leave medicine rather than violate their conscience if forced to participate in morally objectionable procedures and prescriptions.

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Waiting…I’m terrible at it. My guess is I’m not the only one. In fact, among an audience of healthcare professionals, I feel certain the terrible wait-ers make up the majority. We are generally goal-oriented, focused, committed, get-her-done sort of people. Just the sort of people for whom waiting is an agony.

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There continues to be a push to “make better human beings” using genetic modifying technologies. This includes the use of gene editing enzyme tools such as the much talked about CRISPR-Cas system, as well as large scale heritable genetic technologies such as creation of three-parent embryos. As discussed previously, one aspect of gene editing has a very positive aspect: actually attempting to treat patients with genetic conditions and other maladies. Those clinical trials include potential treatments for cancers, sickle cell disease and even the first in-body gene editing to treat blindness. These are truly therapeutic trials, attempting to alleviate diseases in affected patients.

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Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) and Freedom2Care (our center for freedom of faith, conscience and speech) recently submitted official comments on three federal regulations that significantly impact faith-based organizations and conscience-guided health professionals. We also have engaged in court cases, described below, related to two of these regulations.

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Gene Editing to Make Better Human Beings? September 14, 2017

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.

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New Chinese Study Opens Ethical Can of Worms October 19, 2017

Scientists are often viewed as highly ethical, curious seekers of truth. In many cases, this is true. Unfortunately, in pursuit of “truth” some researchers cross important ethical lines, possibly rationalizing their crimes, in a utilitarian manner, as a means to better healthcare for the greater populace.

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Conscience Freedoms Protect Against Ideological Agendas April 5, 2018

Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) member and OB/Gyn physician Dr. Regina Frost appears to be a modern-day Queen Esther, taking a courageous stand for the faith as did the Biblical heroine. Dr. Frost is the face of Christian doctors in a high-stakes federal lawsuit to protect the new federal conscience protection rule from legal assault.

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Words are important. The words I use to describe my patients, even if I am only thinking those words and not speaking them, affect how I feel about them and how I treat them. I’ve known this for a long time, so I work hard to guard both my thinking and my speech as I care for patients. I don’t consider myself prone to making snap judgments about people based on their appearance—that is, I don’t see myself as biased.

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