The case for an Indigenous Bioethics

Global Bioethics Blog, 25 June 2017
Author: Stuart Rennie
“Indigenous communities in the Americas experience a disproportionate incidence of illness and disease compared to the general population. They also possess sophisticated ethical traditions which diverge and not infrequently conflict with Western-oriented bioethics. This culture gap between patient, provider and ethicist is no small public health concern—it can foster feelings of alienation and distrust which compromise the relationship between those in need of care and those able to offer it. Research ethicists have already made considerable efforts to bring sensitivity for aboriginal cultural mores into their discipline, but bioethicists have been slower out of the gate.”
Find article here.

Withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness: is there still a role for the courts?

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017;43:476-480.
Author: English V, Sheather JC
“Currently, in England and Wales, Court of Protection’s Practice Directive 9E (PD9E) requires all cases of proposed withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatment in relation to adults in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) or minimally conscious state be referred to the Court. This paper looks at the origins of PD9E and contrasts the routine requirement to refer cases to court with the complex clinical terrain that comprises those suffering from prolonged disorders of consciousness.”
Find article here (part of a series of articles on this topic)

Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels

The Guardian, 29 June 2017
Author: Rajeev Syal
“Prisons have “struggled to cope” with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners’ mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data. Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012.”
Find article here.

Euthanasia survey hints at support from doctors, nurses and division

SMH, 24 June 2017
Author: James Robertson
“Most NSW doctors and nurses support a controversial medical euthanasia bill headed for Parliament, according to research that could prompt new debate about the medical fraternity’s willingness to accept changes to assisted suicide laws. A bill, to allow patients to apply for medically assisted euthanasia in specific circumstances when older than 25, will be introduced to the NSW upper house in August for a conscience vote. About 60 per cent of doctors support the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill and fewer than 30 per cent oppose it.”
Find article here.

Scotland to introduce soft opt-out system for organ donation

The Guardian, 28 June 2017
Author: Severin Carrell
“Scottish ministers are to introduce a new system of organ donations based on presumed consent in an effort to increase life-saving organ transplants. The change of policy follows the introduction in Wales of a presumed consent system in December 2015, which led to a rise in organ donations and an increase in the number of families agreeing to donations. Last year there were 39 organs transplanted in Wales using its deemed consent system out of 160 organ transplants. Only 6% of people opted out of the system. The Scottish government’s decision to follow suit will increase pressure on ministers in London and possibly in Northern Ireland to introduce similar reforms. ”
Find article here.

Medical ethics in Israel—bridging religious and secular values

The Lancet, May 2017, 2584-2586
Authors: Alan B Jotkowitz, Riad Agbaria, Shimon M Glick
“Peter Berger, a sociologist of religion, once stated that “the theme of individual autonomy is perhaps the most important theme in the worldview of modernity”. Although modern bioethics was relatively late in accepting the value of personal autonomy in medical decision making, this autonomy is now universally recognised as the core value of western medical ethics. Principilism, as proposed by Beauchamp and Childress, lists autonomy along with beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice as the four cardinal principles of bioethics.”
Find essay here.

Doctors lack training in medical ethics: DAK

Brighterkashmir, 20 June 2017
Source: Brighter Kashmir
“Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that doctors in Kashmir lack training in medical ethics. Describing it as an essential component of patient care, President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that doctors are not taught medical ethics during their training. Medical ethics are moral principles in the practice of medicine to which a physician has an obligation. But this need is often not met.”
Find article here.

Legislature passes bill to rein in drug company perks for doctors

Press Herald, 20 June 2017
Author: Joe Lawlor
“A bill that would curtail gifts, speaking and consulting fees and expensive food flowing from pharmaceutical companies to doctors has passed the Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. the goal of the bill is to ensure doctors do not have conflicting interests when prescribing drugs – especially opioids – since Maine is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Maine had 376 drug overdose deaths in 2016 – an average of about one per day – an all-time high and 40 percent higher than in 2015.”
Find article here.

China vows to clamp down on academic fraud amid medical journal scandal

BMJ 2017; 357: j2970
Author: Jane Parry
“China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has said that it is investigating the case of 107 papers from China retracted by the journal Tumor Biology in April this year and that it has “zero tolerance” for academic fraud. The papers were retracted after the journal’s publisher, Springer, conducted a manual screening that showed that the authors had submitted papers with fake email addresses for reviewers.”
Find article here.

Not Just About Consent: The Ethical Dimensions of Research Methodology Knowledge in IRBs

JME Blog, 15 June 2017
Author: Sarah Wieten
“The recent article, “Some Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission” in the New York Times inspired a great deal of debate about the role of institutional research ethics board (IRB) oversight in social science, which some argue is in most cases unlikely to involve significant harm to participants.”
Find article here.