Ethics - Hektoen International

Faith in medicine

Tyler Beauchamp Augusta, Georgia, United States    Photo by Sven Piper on Unsplash. When I was in college, I worked for a nursing unit in the trauma ward. One patient had been in a horrible car accident and barely survived. I visited her for the better part of two weeks before she began to improve. […]

The Citadel and the Dilemma: Medicine corrupted

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   Cover of The Citadel. Little, Brown & Company. Ethical behaviour of doctors is a timeless issue. A recent television investigation in Australia looked at legal but hardly ethical behaviour of doctors performing plastic surgery.1 Two books, a novel and a play written a century ago, remind us that problems […]

O Superman

John Rasko Carl Power Sydney, Australia   Christopher Reeve comes to South Park to demonstrate all the hope and horror of embryonic stem cells. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, “Krazy Kripples,” South Park, season 7, episode 2 (2003). The key scene is available here. The creation of human embryonic stem cells in 1998 sparked enormous […]

On beauty and medical ethics

John Brewer Eberly Jr. Anderson, South Carolina, United States Lydia S. Dugdale New York, United States   Darian Goldin Stahl, “The Scan and the Mirror,” Stone lithography and silkscreen, 22″ x 28,” 2013. Private collection. www.dariangoldinstahl.com. Philosophers know that beauty is moving, arresting, enrapturing. It captures the attention and then calls the viewer to action—pursuing, […]

Learning the meaning of love

Charlotte Eliopoulos Glen Arm, Maryland, United States   Le Typhique. A contagiously ill man asks for the bed-pan; the nurse tells him that it will cost ten sous for the risk. Colour photomechanical reproduction of a lithograph by N. Dorville, c. 1901. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Public Domain In the summer before my senior year in high school, […]

Moral judgment in medicine: “sensibility of heart”

Jack Coulehan Stony Brook, New York, United States   Clinicians in Intensive Care Unit. 2011. Photo by Calleamanecer. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 I want to reflect on the role of emotions, or “sensibility of heart,” in medical judgment. I take the term “judgment,” in general, to refer to the human capacity of assessing, analyzing, […]

Ethics, feminism, and cosmetic surgery

Unaiza Waheed London   Illustration by the author In Reshaping the Female Body, Kathy Davis expresses surprise when a feminist friend announces she is considering breast augmentation surgery: “[She] was very critical of the sufferings women have to endure because their bodies do not meet the normative requirements of feminine beauty,” yet she still felt […]

Remembering Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, physician philosopher

Dean Gianakos Lynchburg, Virginia, United States   “Get Wisdom.” – Proverbs 4:5   Photograph of the author (right) and Dr. Pellegrino (left). Courtesy of the author. One day in the spring of 1985, I remember jogging past the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, wondering what went on in there. It was a gorgeous […]

Eugenics: historic and contemporary

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Moral judgments, changing ethical criteria, and the broader concepts of good and evil are always controversial, and often dangerous. Prominent amongst such judgments are those relating to population control and the wider, ill-defined field of eugenics. Hidden, and often ignored or denied in these conversations, is the underlying […]

Advancing medical knowledge using nonhuman primate research

Zared O. United States   Demonstrators at a university protesting for and against animal research. Courtesy of the UCLA Bruin, Alexis Chavarria. One of the most controversial areas in research is the use of nonhuman primates for experiments. Two decades ago, many animal rights activists thought that the use of nonhuman primates would become obsolete […]