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The Point Blog

Ethics of Immigration

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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CMDA Court Cases: Good News and Bad News

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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Truth, Grace and Love Beyond the Exam Room

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 Follow Ethical Choices

Photo: Pixabay

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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The Emperor’s New Genders: A 911 Call for Christians in Healthcare

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” for the Trans Movement

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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Is There a Robot in the House?

Photo: Pixabay

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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God Uses Flawed People

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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Doing More By Doing Less

Photo: Pixabay

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

Photo: Pexels

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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Actually Making Better Human Beings

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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Three New Regs and two CMDA Court Cases Aim to Protect Faith-centered Professionals

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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Who is Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte?

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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Abuse in Scientific Research

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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Engage before they come for you

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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Person-First Language

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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We Must Never Forget Lest We Become Lukewarm

Why Do You Follow Jesus? July 24, 2018

In this week’s blog post, Dr. Autumn Dawn Galbreath shares about visiting Poland, what she does to prepare for a trip to another country and how what happened in Auschwitz pushes her to think about suffering for Christ and her desire to pursue Christ above everything else.

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Scapegoating the Church for LGBT Suicide and Stigma

Scapegoating the Church for LGBT Suicide and Stigma

Health statistics for people who identify as GLBTQ+ are recognized as poor compared to the general population. Finding causation for those negative statistics in stigma and the religious groups that allegedly promote it is the ideological zeitgeist. California Assemblyman Evan Low just introduced non-binding resolution ACR-99 Civil rights: lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people, which states, “The stigma associated with being LGBT often created by groups in society, including therapists and religious groups, has caused disproportionately high rates of suicide, attempted suicide, depression, rejection, and isolation amongst LGBT and questioning individuals;” and it isn’t the only time “religious groups,” “pastors” or “religious leaders” are mentioned in the text condemning “conversion therapy.” It’s conceptual and factual error and ultimately hurts sexual minorities. Blame shifting does that.

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In Favor of Organ Donation?

In Favor of Organ Donation? June 20, 2019

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.”

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Trust in Patient Relationships

Trust in Patient Relationships June 13, 2019

Any third year medical student knows that the basic principles of medical ethics are autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. At least, that is, according to Beauchamp and Childress’s Principles of Medical Ethics, first published in 1985. For many people these are the only specific guidelines we should employ in sorting through clinical ethics conundrums. In western medicine, Autonomy (with a capital A) seems to be the primary, major consideration. The customer is always right.

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The New HHS Conscience Rule: What It Means to You and Your Patients

Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that implements 25 federal conscience laws and strongly protects the exercise of conscience freedom by health professionals and health entities in HHS funded programs. HHS had issued a proposed conscience rule in January 2018 and finalized the rule May 2 after reviewing some 242,000 public comments, including from the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and Freedom2Care, which strongly support the rule.

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Conscience Rights: Does Your Medical Association Support Them?

Conscience Rights: Does Your Medical Association Support Them? June 3, 2019

Where leading medical institutions stand on the right of conscience and religious freedom can sway court decisions and influence federal legislation. Therefore, it is important to know where prominent groups, such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the World Health Organization, stand on these issues. Each of these groups represents a vast number of medical professionals, and yet their policies do not always accurately express their members’ diverse views, nor do they defend their members’ first amendment rights.

In some cases, the stances of medical organizations stand in direct opposition to the principles in federal law and regulations, which are outlined at the end of this essay.

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Unmasking Medical Marijuana

Unmasking Medical Marijuana May 23, 2019

At age 60, I can pretty much say I will never recommend marijuana to any of my patients. I have far too clear memories of my teenage years, when I knew many friends and family who smoked pot, to their detriment. In high school it wasn’t hard to tell who was using regularly because it interfered with their learning. They seemed slightly disoriented and less aware of what was going on around them.

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Finding Rest

Finding Rest May 16, 2019

How often do you rest? If you’re anything like me, your answer is, “Not often enough!” Most of us are overwhelmed with things that can be outside of our direct control—a busy practice, a crashing patient, an EMR that requires 1,000 clicks per chart, a healthcare system that increases the RVU requirement every year or two, a prodigal child, a distant spouse. Of course, we have input into the things which we allow to fill our time. But very often, we don’t have control over them. Other people’s requirements and expectations place demands on us that are difficult to simply discard or ignore. And, as healthcare professionals, we are doing good. Our work benefits people. We minister to others in their times of greatest need. Good busyness is the hardest kind to fight because it’s easy to justify.

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Making Lifesaving Choices

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

The promises of biotechnology are legion. Many excellent opportunities do exist to develop lifesaving therapies. Many more provide a tempting siren song of “cures!” And if you’re in the healthcare field, at some point you will be asked about your position on some of these wonderful new cures on the horizon. Here’s a short list of some of the recent melodies being sung regarding medical miracles, as well as some truth regarding these apparent wonders.

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Intersex: What It Is And Is Not

Intersex: What It Is And Is Not May 2, 2019

Intersex is a colloquialism for what is more formally titled Disorders of Sex Development (DSD). Per psychiatrist Karl Benzio in an article published in Today’s Christian Doctor in 2015: “Intersex – People who have anatomy that is not considered typically male or female or have anatomy not matching their genetic sex of XX or XY. Most come to medical attention because healthcare professionals or parents notice something unusual about their bodies or puberty or fertility isn’t normal, but some are not known until death/autopsy.”

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Who Are We?

Photo credit: MDGovpics on VisualHunt / CC BY

“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.

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Mandatory Re-Testing?

Mandatory Re-Testing? April 11, 2019

Driver’s license renewal age standards vary from state to state. In Arizona, drivers over the age of 65 have a shorter license renewal cycle. In Hawaii, the renewal cycle drops from every eight years to every two years for persons over 72. In Illinois, the renewal cycle drops from four years to two after the age of 81, and then it drops to a yearly renewal cycle after 87 years.

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Adult Stem Cells Are the Gold Standard

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

Adult stem cells are the successful gold standard of stem cells, especially when it comes to patients and therapies. Adult stem cells are in fact the only type of stem cell to have shown validated, published results of therapeutic benefit to patients. A recent published review of stem cell research documents the significant efficacy gap between embryonic and adult stem cells.

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Overcoming Isolation

Overcoming Isolation March 26, 2019

Drunk, rowdy, and foul smelling, he came into a busy clinic last night. He was roomed immediately to get the disruption out of the waiting room, but his volume penetrated the walls and disrupted multiple other clinic rooms. He had no ID, wouldn’t tell us his name and had no chief complaint.

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Transgender Athletics: A Justice Issue

Transgender Athletics: A Justice Issue March 14, 2019

Nobody who knows me would call me an athlete. If I wasn’t picked last for team sports at school, then it was next to last. Every time. Because of this pathetic natural ability, I have never been one who availed myself of all the sports opportunities I was given.

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Essay 15: Medicine Needs Challengers

Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny November 2, 2017

As noted in previous essays, a New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece entitled, “Physicians, Not Conscripts — Conscientious Objection in Health Care,” by Affordable Care Act architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and University of Pennsylvania professor Ronit Stahl, advocates for limiting the exercise of conscience objections.

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Disappointment, Rejection and Betrayal, and Reasonable Expectations

Disappointment, Rejection and Betrayal, and Reasonable Expectations February 28, 2019

My senior pastor instructs that successful Christian living—I would add “or any successful life”—requires being prepared for the inevitability of disappointment, rejection and betrayal. Expectation is not fixation but preparation. The aim is not to sour you on life, but to bullet proof you a bit from its down side and to recognize the prize God provides through it.

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No Politics in the Exam Room?

No Politics in the Exam Room? February 21, 2019

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.”

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Civility

Civility February 14, 2019

A few years ago, at the height of the embryonic stem cell research controversy and public debate, I was asked to be one of four presenters for a Friday medical school forum discussing this topic. There were three other presenters: a semi-retired professor whose area of work was in rehabilitation and advocating for accommodations for persons with disabilities, a social science professor and Dr. X, an MD/PhD whose main area of study was stem cell research. I was the lone conservative.

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Edict Aimed at Pro-Life OB/Gyns Shows what “Choose, You Lose” Looks Like in Practice

The Future Today July 2, 2018

In a New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece entitled, “Physicians, Not Conscripts — Conscientious Objection in Health Care,” Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and University of Pennsylvania professor Ronit Stahl advocate ridding healthcare of conscience protections.

Eliminating conscience protections effectively would rid healthcare of doctors, nurses and other health professionals who rely upon those protections. Polling indicates that ethically driven physicians will leave medicine altogether, avoid the OB/Gyn specialty or restrict their practices rather than compromise their consciences.

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A Plug for Written Prayers

A Plug for Written Prayers January 31, 2019

When I was a young Christian, I thought written prayers were stale, while my own prayers were spontaneous and alive. Now I think the opposite. Left to my own devices, my prayers sound remarkably similar to one another. And by similar, I mean dull. Heartfelt, but dull.

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Religious Practices are Healthy for Your Children

Photo: Pexels

Dr. David Stevens explores the topic of religious practices and how they can make a difference in your child’s health. He shares about a recent study that shows how a religious upbringing is a very large protective factor on adolescents.

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Ethics, Sexuality and Truth

Photo: Pixabay

In this week’s blog post, Dr. Autumn Dawn Galbreath shares about a recent talk she listened to on ethics and sexuality, as well as how that impacts her daily practice of healthcare.

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Better Science Without the Ideology of Fetal Tissue

Better Science Without the Ideology of Fetal Tissue January 10, 2019

The debate about use of aborted fetal tissue for research continues, usually characterized as pitting science against ideology. Dr. David Prentice explains how the characterization is accurate, but the stereotypes of who fits in the categories are not.

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Merry Christmas: A Physician’s Take

Merry Christmas: A Physician’s Take December 27, 2018

Luke’s gospel gives the most complete and careful detailing of the setting, annunciation, gestation and birth of Christ, as one would expect from a person of medicine. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Andre Van Mol explores the gospel account of Christ’s birth.

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A Wrong Turn on the Right Path?

A Wrong Turn on the Right Path? December 20, 2018

An international outcry occurred after Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced that he and his team had edited human embryos in an attempt to produce children who are resistant to HIV, cholera and smallpox. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Joy Riley explores this topic from an ethical perspective.

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Nonconsensual Intimate Physical Examinations: Time to Stop

Nonconsensual Intimate Physical Examinations: Time to Stop December 13, 2018

Recently, a law professor I was breakfasting with asked an interesting question, “Is it ethical to perform pelvic exams on patients who are under anesthesia without their permission?” My immediate response was a quick, “No!” and then, “That is something that was done in the distant past, but the question was settled long ago. Without permission, this would be battery, essentially rape.”

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Can Transgender Activism Silence Science?

The Future Today July 2, 2018

Vice President for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody discusses the lawsuit CMDA has been involved in regarding the transgender mandate, and how a new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected soon.

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Trusting Vaccines

Trusting Vaccines November 29, 2018

Worldwide, only clean water has saved more lives than vaccines. Wild smallpox has been eliminated, and polio nearly so. Twelve other major diseases that were the scourge of mankind have been controlled. So why would anyone not want to control disease? Dr. Amy Givler delves into this question in this week’s blog post on The Point.

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Standing Against Physician-Assisted Suicide in Family Medicine

Standing Against Physician-Assisted Suicide in Family Medicine November 28, 2018

The American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Congress of Delegates recently voted during their annual meeting to change their Hippocratic position on assisted suicide to a position of “engaged neutrality.” In this week’s blog post, Dr. David Stevens discusses how dangerous this decision is, and what you can do to get involved.

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The Lure of Money

The Lure of Money November 15, 2018

In this week’s blog post, Dr. Autumn Dawn Galbreath discusses the topic of money and how easy it is to compare ourselves to others and how much more money they have than we do. How does God call us to view our possessions?

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Treating Patients or Creating New Patients with Technology

Techno-Babies: Some Assembly Required? November 10, 2016

In this week’s blog post, Dr. David Prentice discusses how emerging technologies offer opportunities for development of useful therapeutic interventions, but they can also offer temptations to rush ahead with risky, scientifically unproven and ethically questionable applications.

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The Pursuit of Truth—Not Politics—Should Guide Research

Conscience Freedoms Protect Against Ideological Agendas April 5, 2018

The contentious confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh mirrored a less outwardly raucous, though equally intense, conflict in the scientific and research community. Our country, our culture and the scientific community appear at a crossroads. We are determining the extent to which objectivity, evidence and reason—as opposed to bias, ideology and emotion—will shape our conclusions and our policies.

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Benchmarks in the Battle

The Future Today July 2, 2018

Early this year Dr. Andre Van Mol found himself transitioning from 23 years of solo family practice to employment by a big company, which is enough change for any season. Then came the request to help small teams fight big bills in his state capital of Sacramento, California.

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What’s in a Name?

10/17/2018 POINT BLOG

In this week’s blog post, Dr. Joy Riley discusses how verbiage makes a big difference in how physician-assisted suicide is promoted and transformed to make it more palatable to the general population.

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Cloning Dollars

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

Cloning is an extremely lucrative business that has become more efficient. In today’s blog post, Dr. David Stevens explores this topic and shares what the Bible says about cloning, as well as the moral and ethical implications of this rising business.

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The Quality Control of Life

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

Manufacturing industries routinely do quality control on their products, testing them to be certain the items being produced meet certain specifications. Any flawed products, those that do not meet the required specifications, are discarded. But what if that same mindset were applied to human beings?

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Not Your Mother’s Family Planning Program

Titlex

In this week’s blog post, Jonathan Imbody shares how several federal grants awarded under a recent Title X funding opportunity illustrator the current White House Administration’s determination to ensure that faith-based and pro-life clinics, hospitals, pregnancy centers and sexual risk avoidance programs get a fair and legal chance to compete for federal funding.

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Opioids: A Brief History

Pills tumbling from bottle into open hand

In this week’s blog post, Dr. Amy Givler shares the story of how opioids became a problem in every community in America, including yours. And it is the story of how opioid addiction has overwhelmed and devastated some communities, maybe yours.

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New Study on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

New Study on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts August 23, 2018

States are rushing to ban change therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction and gender identity conflicts (though over 20 have refused); with California aiming to make anything like it (and then some) prosecutable consumer fraud. In this week’s post, Dr. Andre Van Mol explores a new study on the effects of this therapy.

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Genome Editing: Social and Ethical Issues

Genome Editing: Social and Ethical Issues August 16, 2018

On July 17, 2018, the Nuffield Council released its report on “Genome Editing and Human Reproduction: Social and Ethical Issues.” The report lists several situations in which genome editing would be desired in order to have a genetically related child who did not have a given condition. Dr. Joy Riley discusses the ethical concerns raised by this report.

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Predictions

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

In medicine, patients and families want to know diagnoses, therapies, risks, benefits and side effects of proposed treatment options. At times the thing they most want to know is what is likely to happen to themselves or their loved ones based on possible interventions. This, however, may be the most difficult answer to give people.

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Marijuana: Profits, Politics and Popularity Over People

Marijuana: Profits, Politics and Popularity Over People August 1, 2018

When it comes to medical marijuana, many people prefer profits, politics and popularity over people. And physicians are not exempt. In this special blog post, Dr. James Avery explores the current movement of medical marijuana and how physicians need to actively confront the view held by so many that marijuana is a safe, natural and weak hallucinogenic.

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Family vs. Physician

Family vs. Physician July 19, 2018 by Autumn Dawn Galbreath, MD, MBA

How do you feel when you have a patient who is also a physician? Or a patient whose close family member is a physician? I have been pondering this idea as I explained some medical information to several family members. In what ways can I be helpful to the situation, and where do I want to avoid making more work for the doctor caring for my family?

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An Embryo by Any Other Name

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

Some recent stories illustrate the continuing obsession, by some in the scientific community, with trying to make embryos in a way that “gets around” the ethical and legal barriers erected to protect young human life. Dr. David Prentice explores these recent attempts.

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HIV Education and How Not To Do It

Photo: Visual Hunt

A few landmines are lurking in the field of our state’s educational laws. California Education Code 51931 “definitions” section details that only “medically accurate” information can be taught. Seemingly fair enough. Also, Code 51933 states: “(4) Instruction and materials shall not reflect or promote bias against any person on the basis of any category protected by Section 220.

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The Rise of Blastoids

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

Dr. Joy Riley raises several ethical questions introduced by the production of “blastoids,” embryo-like structures from stem cells in a recent study.

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Council on Judicial and Ethical Affairs

Cjea

Compassion & Choices uses every trick in the book to get physician-assisted suicide legalized in individual states, and they never give up. They fund polling with leading questions in the vein of, “Would you like to die in terrible pain hooked up to a machine by doctors who won’t let you die or should physicians aid you in dying?” They then tout the results as overwhelming support for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide to the media and anyone else who will listen.

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How We Got Where We Are: Same-Sex Reproduction

Photo: Pexels

In the realm of sexual reproduction, the idea of in vitro fertilization, a technological (and for many an ethical) impossibility years ago, is now commonplace. And, as foreseen in the futuristic movie Gattaca, it may someday become the standard method of reproduction.

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Three California Bills Needing Attention

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey on Foter.com / CC BY

There are three bills pending in the California Assembly that beg your attention and action. They clearly seem intended to stand as national models. Dr. Andre Van Mol provides a brief on these bills, followed by talking points regarding their problems and where to lodge your protests.

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New HHS division, conscience freedom laws and policies protect patients and physicians

Photo credit: American Life League on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

This excerpt is the sixth in a series of essays on conscience in healthcare, by Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations of the Christian Medical Association and Director of Freedom2Care. The essays respond to “Physicians, Not Conscripts — Conscientious Objection in Health Care,” Ronit Y. Stahl, Ph.D. and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, New England Journal of Medicine 376;14, April 6, 2017.

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Gay Parenting and Child Health Outcomes

Photo credit: nerdcoregirl on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

by Andre Van Mol, MD

A 2016 article in the journal Demography asserted that health outcomes for children raised in either same-sex or different-sex married homes were about the same. Sociologist D.P. Sullins published a 2017 article in the same journal noting inadvertent but crushing mistakes in the measures for the 2016 paper, namely that the data taken from the National Health Interview Survey, administered by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), misclassified 42 percent of the sample’s same-sex married partners as opposite-sex.

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Rights of Conscience, Moral Complicity and Free Speech

Photo: Pixabay

The title of the article might lead a reader to believe the authors support a physician’s right of conscience, but they do just the opposite. They strongly assert the will of the patient over the conscience of the physician. They write, “Making the patient paramount means offering and providing accepted medical interventions in accordance with patients’ reasoned decision,” and “Health care professionals who are unwilling to accept these limits [putting aside their own conscience to support patient autonomy] have two choices: select an area of medicine, such as radiology that will not put them in situations that conflict with their personal morality, or if there is no such areas, leave the profession.” While this quote would seem to apply to a broad variety of issues, in the context of the article the authors are referring to abortion.

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Are healthcare conscience laws needed?

Conscience Freedoms Protect Against Ideological Agendas April 5, 2018

This excerpt is the fifth in a series of essays on conscience in healthcare, by Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations of the Christian Medical Association and Director of Freedom2Care. The essays respond to “Physicians, Not Conscripts — Conscientious Objection in Health Care,” Ronit Y. Stahl, Ph.D. and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, New England Journal of Medicine 376;14, April 6, 2017.

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Reporting on IVF Incidents

Reporting on IVF Incidents December 21, 2017

In the United Kingdom, patients pay for 60 percent of the 76,000 annual in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments rendered. Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the regulatory body overseeing both fertility treatment and embryo research, released in December its State of the Fertility Sector: 2016-17, a report detailing the health of the fertility sector in the UK.

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Bedrock Oaths Vs. Zeitgeist Barometers

Medical Ethics: Bedrock Oaths Versus Zeitgeist Barometers December 16, 2017

On the heels of World War II, with medical ethics in the spotlight following unconscionable Nazi atrocities, the World Medical Association (WMA) decided the Hippocratic Oath, which had guided medicine since around 500 BC, needed to be replaced. So the WMA developed a new oath that contained some of the principles of the ancient oath but opened the door to continual modernizing.

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The “Five Solas,” Then and Now

The Five Solas, Then & Now December 14, 2017

October 31, 1517 is often identified as the birthdate of the Protestant Reformation. On this date Martin Luther purportedly nailed his “95 Theses” to the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany. Actually, as Eric Metaxas tells us in Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World…

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Treating the New Chronic Pain Patient

Pills tumbling from bottle into open hand

I had a tooth pulled last month. I wasn’t expecting much post-op pain because the tooth already had a root canal, years earlier. Yet with my mouth clamped on a large cotton wad after the procedure, I heard my oral surgeon say to his assistant, “Print out a script for Norco 7.5’s – 30 of them.”

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The Commercialization of Marijuana

Marijuana: Profits, Politics and Popularity Over People August 1, 2018

What happens when marijuana is legalized for either medical or recreational use with little regulation and almost no enforcement? Unfortunately, we know by looking at what has happened in Colorado over the last few years, as Ben Cort relates in his excellent book Weed, Inc.

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Sharing Experiences and Decreasing Isolation in Healthcare

Photo: Pexels

An article crossed both my inbox and my Facebook feed this week entitled “Here’s Why Women Doctors Need Time Together.” It certainly wasn’t an academic study, but, as a woman physician, I was intrigued by the title. One sentence summarizes the author’s major premise: “There is an amazing power in gathering, shared experiences and decreasing isolation.” And I agree. When I watch my kids play sports or perform, I gather with other parents who share that experience—and we cheer as loudly as we can. When my marriage needs refreshment, my husband and I gather with other couples who share the experiences, both joyful and difficult, of marriage—and the isolation of our challenges is decreased.

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Exciting Technologies and Ethical Applications

Genome Editing: Social and Ethical Issues August 16, 2018

Some scientists have said one reason they don’t consult bioethicists or think about the ethical implications of their research is because ethicists usually say “no” to new technologies, or that 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 not arbitrary and actually say “yes” to some exciting—and ethical—applications of new technologies.

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Autonomy Quickly Translates to Tyranny

Photo credit: Kurdistan Photo كوردستان on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

It’s one thing to expect physicians to do everything possible to advance healing for patients. It’s quite another to insist that whatever the patient wants, the patient gets—so the physician must provide it at risk of his or her career. Whenever one group gets its way regardless of the impact on others, that is not autonomy; that is tyranny.

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Mistaken Identity: There is No Straight or Gay

Mistaken Identity: There is No Straight or Gay October 26, 2017

Satan attacks identity, striving to separate us from who we are made to be. Mistaken identity is costly. In this week’s The Point blog, Dr. Andre Van Mol explores the concept of mistaken identity, the false identity of GLBT, and how it makes a difference in both medicine and science.

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New Chinese Study Opens Ethical Can of Worms

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

A recent report of a “serious blood disorder” corrected by “chemical surgery” sounds like a dream come true. Ian Sample’s article in The Guardian also made the process sound efficient and clean, even sterile. However, a look behind the headline reveals some important facts to consider. Dr. Joy Riley explores the ethical issues in this week’s blog.

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Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

The top 10 causes of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer, are Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, chronic renal disease and suicide. Some of these conditions are not preventable, so a more pertinent question is, what are the addressable risk factors for morbidity and premature death in general? And how do we focus on them with our patients?

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Funding Morality: A New Crowd-funding Site for Biblical Worldview

Photo credit: World Economic Forum on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Crowd-funding companies enjoy the right to do business according to their values and freedom of association, yet they have often been known to deny the same to others with whom they disagree, namely Christian and conservative causes. Dr. Andre Van Mol shares about a new crowd-funding organization for causes that are pro-life, pro-family and adhere to biblical values and the Judeo-Christian worldview.

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