(BBC) – The World Health Organization has revoked the appointment of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador following a widespread outcry. “I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns,” WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health. But critics pointed out that Zimbabwe’s healthcare system had collapsed in recent years.
(South Korean Herald) – Thirteen hospitals in South Korea will launch trial operations of end-of-life care this week, just over three months before a law on dying with dignity comes into effect, officials said Sunday. The law, which will take effect from February next year, was passed by the National Assembly in January last year and allows terminally ill patients to seek the right to die when there is no chance of recovery.
(STAT News) – The new head of the World Health Organization has named Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador for the agency, a move that has startled and dismayed public health experts. The WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the controversial appointment on Wednesday in a speech at a global conference on noncommunicable diseases in Montevideo, Uruguay. Tedros, as he is known, described himself as “honored” that Mugabe — whose government has repressed protesters and the political opposition, has been accused of rigging elections, and has been implicated in widespread human rights violations — had agreed to serve as a goodwill ambassador on noncommunicable diseases for Africa.
(STAT News) – Like many of the scientists who helped usher in the groundbreaking creation of a part-human, part-animal chimera earlier this year, biologist Dr. Pablo Juan Ross is no stranger to cutting-edge tools such as CRISPR and stem cells. But he also knows his way around the inside of a pig uterus. While growing human cells inside fetal pigs involved some of science’s fanciest new tricks, it also required something decidedly more mundane: a farm, stocked with livestock and staffed with people like Ross who know how to handle them.
(The Conversation) – When it comes to the question of which medicines can, or even are meant to, kill us, the most important thing to remember is the old adage: The dose makes the poison. This concept is one on which the whole discipline of toxicology and medicines is founded. This is the meaning of the well-known symbol of the snake, wound around the bowl of Hygeia (the Greek goddess of health), representing medicine, which you see in pharmacies and medical centres around the world. The intertwining of poison and health care is a longstanding concept in the therapeutic use of medicines.
The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 377, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Targeting Unconscionable Prescription-Drug Prices — Maryland’s Anti–Price-Gouging Law” by J.A. Greene and W.V. Padula
- “The Economics of Indication-Based Drug Pricing” by A. Chandra and C. Garthwaite
- “The Chair Grant” by J.G. David
The American Journal of Bioethics (vol. 17, no. 7, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “At Last! Aye, and There’s the Rub” by Alexander M. Capron
- “A Proposed Process for Reliably Updating the Common Rule” by Benjamin E. Berkman, David Wendler, Haley K. Sullivan, Christine Grady
- “Rethinking the Belmont Report?” by Phoebe Friesen, Lisa Kearns, Barbara, Arthur L. Caplan
- “Examining Provisions Related to Consent in the Revised Common Rule” by Jeremy Sugarman
- “The Final Rule: When the Rubber Meets the Road” by P. Pearl O’Rourke
The Journal of Rural Health (vol. 33, no. 3, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Predicting Financial Distress and Closure in Rural Hospitals” by George M. Holmes, Brystana G. Kaufman, and George H. Pink
- “A Community-Engaged Approach to Collecting Rural Health Surveillance Data” by Jini E. Puma et al.
- “The State of Nursing Home Information Technology Sophistication in Rural and Nonrural US Markets” by Gregory L. Alexander et al.
- “Hospital Characteristics are Associated With Readiness to Attain Stage 2 Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records” by Jungyeon Kim et al.
- “The Rural PILL Program: A Postdischarge Telepharmacy Intervention for Rural Veterans” by Katherine E. Rebello et al.
The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 377, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Undermining Genetic Privacy? Employee Wellness Programs and the Law” by K.L. Hudson and K. Pollitz
- “Patient-Reported Outcomes — Are They Living Up to Their Potential?” by J.F. Baumhauer
- “The Changing Face of Clinical Trials: Master Protocols to Study Multiple Therapies, Multiple Diseases, or Both” by J. Woodcock and L.M. LaVange
Journal of Medical Ethics (vol. 43, no. 7, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Persistent Vegetative State and Minimally Conscious State: Ethical, Legal and Practical Dilemmas” by Lindy Willmott and Ben White
- “A Matter of Life and Death” by Justice Baker
- “Procedure, Practice and Legal Requirements: A Commentary on ‘Why I Wrote My Advance Decision’” by Alexander Ruck Keene
- “Back to the Bedside? Making Clinical Decisions in Patients with Prolonged Unconsciousness” by Derick Wade
- “When ‘Sanctity of Life’ and ‘Self-Determination’ Clash: Briggs Versus Briggs  EWCOP 53 – Implications for Policy and Practice” by Jenny Kitzinger, Celia Kitzinger, and Jakki Cowley
- “Can ‘Best Interests’ Derail the Trolley? Examining Withdrawal of Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration in Patients in the Permanent Vegetative State” by Zoe Fritz
- “Withdrawal of Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration Decisions in Patients with Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness: Best Interests of the Patients and Advance Directives Are the Keys” by N Lejeune
- “The Ethics of and the Appropriate Legislation Concerning Killing People and Letting Them Die: A Response to Merkel” by Hugh V Mclachlan
- “CPR Decision Making: Why Winspear Needs to Be Challenged?” by Rosemarie Anthony-Pillai
(Medical Xpress) – Many people suffering from debilitating and incurable illnesses or elderly patients who are frail and incapacitated sometimes choose to stop eating and drinking as a means to hasten their death. The decision is often accompanied by a request for medical assistance to ease the distress that can ensue after stopping eating and drinking. According to a new study on the ethical evaluation of these situations, the presumption that death by voluntary fasting can be viewed as ‘natural’ is flawed. “Dying by voluntary stopping eating and drinking (VSED) is a form of suicide, and the provision of medical assistance towards that end would, at least in some cases, be equivalent to suicide assistance,” says medical ethicist Ralf Jox, Assistant Professor at the Institute for the Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at LMU Munich.
(Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the agency was working with several pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Puerto Rico to prevent shortages of medical products in the United States as it joins a massive effort to help rebuild the island that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Drugmakers are working to get facilities fully online after the storm slammed into the Caribbean island on Sept. 20, knocking out electricity and causing widespread damage to homes and infrastructure.
(Quartz) – Nearly 100 people have died from a plague outbreak on the island of Madagascar. The death toll from the outbreak has reached 94, with more than 1,100 suspected cases reported, the World Health Organzation told French news agency AFP. With the outbreak making its way through the capital city Antananarivo and other urban areas, medical workers are bracing for even more cases. Panic has already begun to spread.
(Scientific American) – Society’s embrace of cannabis to treat nausea, pain and other conditions proceeds apace with the drive to legalize the plant for recreational use. Pot’s seemingly innocuous side effects have helped clear a path toward making it a legal cash crop, with all of the marketing glitz brought to other consumer products. But that clean bill of health only goes so far. Marijuana’s potentially detrimental impact on the developing brains of adolescents remains a key focus of research—particularly because of the possibility teenage users could go on to face a higher risk of psychosis.
(New York Times) – A federal judge on Wednesday ordered top United States government officials to allow a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant to get an abortion — the first ruling in a case that could eventually grow to include hundreds of other undocumented minors who seek access to an abortion while in federal custody.
(Retraction Watch) – Journals are raising ethical concerns about the research of a doctor who offers controversial embryonic stem cell treatments. Two journals have issued expressions of concern for three papers by Geeta Shroff, who was the subject of a 2012 CNN investigative documentary. All cite ethical concerns; one mentions the potential link between the procedure the authors describe and a risk of forming teratomas, a type of tumor. Shroff has objected to all three notices.
(Washington Post) – The U.S. abortion rate has fallen dramatically, by 25 percent, in recent years. The procedure continues to be common: One in four women will have an abortion by 45, according to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday. Researchers used data from three surveys, two conducted by the federal government and the third by the Guttmacher Institute, to estimate abortion rates. They found that in 2008, there were 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. By 2014, the number had dropped to 14.6 per 1,000.
The Linacre Quarterly (vol. 84, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Personhood Status of the Human Zygote, Embryo, Fetus” by John Janez Miklavcic
- “Identifying Organisms” by Stephen Napier
- “Pope John Paul II and the Neurological Standard for the Determination
of Death: A Critical Analysis of His Address to the Transplantation
Society” by Doyen Nguyen
The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 377, no. 6, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “Supporting Women’s Autonomy in Prenatal Testing” by J. Johnston, R.M. Farrell, and E. Parens
- “Health Insurance Coverage and Health — What the Recent Evidence Tells Us” by B.D. Sommers, A.A. Gawande, and K. Baicker
Christian Bioethics (vol. 23, no. 2, 2017) is available online by subscription only.
- “The Scandal of Secular Bioethics: What Happens When the Culture Acts as if there is No God?” by Mark J. Cherry
- “A God’s-Eye Perspective after Onto-Theology: Notes toward a Post-Modern Christian Culture” by Bruce V. Foltz
- “On Liturgical Morality” by David W. Fagerberg
- “Hegel, The Reconceptualization of Science, and the Managerial Elite” by C. Clark Carlton
- “Minding the ‘Unbridgeable Gap’: The Future of Conscientious Objection in a Secular Age” by Alain Julian León and Rico Vitz
- “Moral Pluralism and Christian Bioethics: On H. T. Engelhardt Jr.’s After God” by Luca Savarino
- “The God-shaped Void in the Post-Theistic World: H. Tristram Engelhardt’s Quest in After God” by Gary W. Jenkins
- ” Engelhardt as Sectarian: An Evangelical Protestant Consideration of After God” by James R. Thobaben