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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I recently spoke outside the Supreme Court in the face of raucous protests on the day of oral arguments in a case involving transgender individuals and alleged sex discrimination, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Speeches had resumed outside the court after a bomb scare had prompted police to clear the area.
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.
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.