Do you want to know the latest information and news about today's important healthcare topics? Join the conversation with The Point, CMDA's blog focusing on breaking news stories in bioethics and healthcare. CMDA's experts contribute to the blog and also recommend additional resources and information.
The purpose of this blog is to stimulate thought and discussion about important issues in healthcare. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of CMDA. We encourage you to join the conversation on our website and share your experience, insight and expertise. CMDA has a rigorous and representative process in formulating official positions, which are largely limited to bioethical areas.
A multitude of states, counties and cities have banned “conversion therapy,” usually for minors only, with efforts underway to issue a national ban for all through the so-called “Equality Act” (HR 5). Yet, “conversion therapy” is a misrepresentative, maligning and summarily ill-defined term employed as a jamming tactic to capitalize on an allusion to implicitly forced religious conversion while stigmatizing and intimidating any therapist who would engage in change-allowing therapy. It implies coercion and suffering, neither of which are true of modern change-allowing therapy (aka SOCE for sexual orientation change efforts). Modern SOCE therapists uniformly view old aversive techniques (think shaming, electric shocks, etc.) as unethical and ineffective. Tellingly, no state or municipality enacting a therapy prohibition has yet to ban aversive practices, only counseling that allows clients to explore their potential for change of SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity). Why not ban aversive measures too, if abuse is really the issue?
“You can’t handle the truth!”
That classic line from A Few Good Men from Colonel Jessup in the witness stand became a waving flag for many. It is enticing to think we own the truth, and that those who can’t “handle” it are naïve, weak or cowardly. Delivered to perfection by Jack Nicholson, Jessup hammered a wedge between truth and fantasy, and of course we all know which side we’re on, don’t we?
A growing proliferation of blog posts, podcasts and online videos presenting confusing information regarding COVID-19 has increased over recent months. Many of these controversies are propagated by physicians speaking to large church audiences. In this blog post, I will address the most common disputes.
This is a non-partisan site, and this is a non-partisan blog. I have not posted opinions supporting any candidate anywhere, and I will not do so here.
Like me, you probably entered the medical field because you wanted to help people who were in significant need, facing challenges, and for whom you could have a substantial positive impact. You may have gone in with the goal to save lives. In healthcare, we have the privilege of helping people at some of their most vulnerable points, while also being a light shining into their darkness. For many women, that moment arrives for them after they have taken mifepristone (RU-486) with the intention of ending their pregnancy.
A federal court has provided protections for physicians committed to following medical evidence and conscience convictions regarding the transgender and gender-questioning patients for whom they care.
When my husband and I worked at a mission hospital in Kenya for six weeks in 2013, we ate dinner every evening with another volunteer doctor, an orthopedic surgeon. We often discussed the use of opioids, or rather, the seldom-use of opioids in Kenya. After a U.S. surgery, he said his patients would receive opioids round the clock in the hospital, and they’d go home with a prescription for 30 to 60 pills. Yet here, patients’ pain was managed with non-opioid pain medications, and nobody was prescribed opioids after discharge.
A physician member of CMDA recently asked me for a perspective on the tragic temporary takeover of the U.S. Capitol and the role of politicians before and after that tumultuous event. The physician’s email began, “I’m so saddened by this incident and so appalled….”
I’ve been asked to share the response to that physician more widely, so my edited response is below, followed by some thoughts on public policy ministry, the last four years and the next four years.
My grandfather was a deeply gracious man. A Southern gentleman to the core and pastor of a large church, he was loving and compassionate toward everyone he met, and he was also uniquely talented at making each and every person with whom he interacted feel loved and heard. He truly cared, and he had an amazing ability to communicate the depth of that concern. In the 40 years I knew him, I never heard him raise his voice or speak a harsh word, with one dramatic exception. So it’s no surprise that the story of Granddaddy, hospitalized and delirious after major surgery, raising his voice at Gran has gone down in family lore. His agitation at her that day was so great, and so perplexing. He was intensely frustrated with her driving, despite the fact that he been in the hospital and nowhere near a car for days. He finally burst out, in his resonant Southern voice, “You insist on driving upside down and backwards just to irritate me!” Needless to say, it did not ease his distress when the entire family burst into laughter. But some things are just so funny you can’t control yourself.
CMDA Senior Vice President for Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeff Barrows and I recently wrote a piece for The Public Discourse, “Is Receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Ethical?” that suggested principles to consider as we navigate ethical issues related to COVID-19 vaccines. I’ve included brief highlights below; more from the original article and also new observations will be published in an upcoming edition of CMDA Today (previously known as Today’s Christian Doctor).
You see a 68-year-old male with diabetes and hypertension in the office for coughing, body aches and recent loss of taste and smell, whose symptoms started about three days ago. His pulse oximetry is 95 percent, and the lungs are clear. A COVID-19 test is run and comes back positive. He asks what can be done to decrease his risk for going to the hospital or even death. Unfortunately, you tell him, there are no easily accessible outpatient treatments for COVID-19, and you recommend he use over-the-counter treatments to help his symptoms and to let you know if he is getting significantly short of breath. There are times like this when we in the primary care realm can feel helpless or like there’s not much we have to offer for patients. But is this truly the case for COVID-19?
In a stunning decision with international implications, the United Kingdom’s High Court ruled December 12 in Bell vs. Tavistock that puberty blockers (PB) and cross-sex hormone (CSH) use in gender dysphoric minors was experimental and should not, in most cases, be given to children under 16 without court order, adding that such petitioning was also advisable for 16 to 17 year olds. They clarified that the consent issue was not about the breadth and depth of information the minors were given, but that “There is no age appropriate way to explain to many of these children what losing their fertility or full sexual function may mean to them in later years.”