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Medical Ethics

The Takeaway

Do No Harm? A Look at Doctors & the Death Penalty

Friday, May 02, 2014

Doctors take the hippocratic oath to do no harm. Why wasn't this conflict of interest considered more carefully before lethal injection became the go-to method for humanely enforcing the death penalty in the United States?

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Cloning for Embryonic Stem Cells

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Arthur Caplan, professor and the director of the division of medical ethics at the NYU School of Medicine, discusses the news that scientists have successfully used cloning to produce human embryonic stem cells--and discusses the ethical issues it raises.

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The Takeaway

The Medical Ethics of Force-Feeding Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

This week a large team of “medical reinforcements” including Navy nurses, corpsmen, and specialists, were deployed to Guantanamo Bay as a response to the ongoing inmate hunger strike. With about 100 inmates refusing food in protest, the use of force-feeding tubes is now widespread, due to a military directive that aims to keep patients alive, regardless of if they want to be fed or not, or live or not. Carlos Warner is a federal public defender who represents 11 Guantanamo detainees.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Post-Sandy Mold; Medical Ethics; Organizing for Action; Food Expiration

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Michael Reilly, Columbia health sciences professor, discusses the public health risks of mold in buildings damaged by Sandy. Plus: a new series on medical ethics with Duke University bioethicist Nita Farahany; President Obama's political action group Organizing for Action; a new New Testament; and when it's okay to eat and serve food that is passed its sell-by date.

The Brian Lehrer Show

Anesthesia Awareness and the Nature of Consciousness

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Joshua Lang, medical student at the UC Berkeley/USCF Joint Medical Program and contributor to The Atlantic, discusses the problem of patients becoming aware while under anesthesia -- and why measuring and understanding consciousness is so difficult.

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The Takeaway

Bioethical Questions Raised by 'Cyclops Baby'

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yesterday we heard the story of the 'cyclops baby,' a child born badly disfigured and doomed to die. We put some of the questions it raises to Art Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. 

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The Takeaway

The Case of the 'Cyclops Child'

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Doctor Fredric Neuman is now the director of the Anxiety and Phobia Center at White Plains Hospital. But when he was a medical intern, he saw something no one should ever have to see.

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The Takeaway

Organ Donation in the Age of Social Networking

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A new plan from Facebook encourages everyone on the social network to advertise their donor status on their pages, along with their birth dates and schools. Could the plan be a slippery slope linking medical information and social media? Jeff Jarvis is professor of journalism at City University of New York. Art Caplan is a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. 

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The Takeaway

60 Lives Connected in the Largest Chain of Kidney Transplants

Monday, February 20, 2012

The National Kidney Registry called it "Chain 124." It began last August and lasted through December, linking 60 lives forever in the longest-ever chain of kidney transplants.  Through the cooperation of seventeen hospitals in eleven states, it connected 30 people who needed a kidney with 30 people willing to give up an organ to a complete stranger. Transplant chains like this are rare, but computer models suggest thousands more transplants could be made each year if there were a national databank of willing donors and recipients — and if more Americans knew about such programs.

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The Takeaway

Are Profits Driving Medical Research?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

On April 12, 1955, Edward R. Murrow interviewed Dr. Jonas Salk on the CBS show, "See it Now." Salk’s polio vaccine had just been proven effective in preventing the disease. Murrow asked who owned the vaccine. "The people I would say," Salk answered. "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" Medical research culture has changed dramatically since Salk's time. Had it been invented today, it seems likely that the polio vaccine would have been patented immediately, and that Salk would have worked for a pharmaceutical company, rather than a university.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Two-Minus-One Pregnancy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ruth Padawer, a writer and professor who covers health and gender issues, discusses her recent article for the New York Times Magazine about the ethical decision of reducing twins to a single fetus. She explores the question of why the choice is such an uneasy one to make, even for pro-choice women.

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The Takeaway

Reflecting on Jack Kevorkian, Dead at Age 83

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died at age 83 Friday morning at a Michigan hospital. Kevorkian was a controversial figure; outspoken on assisted suicide, the doctor said he helped 130 people who had chosen to end their lives. Terry Youk's brother, Thomas, was euthanized in 1998 with the help of Jack Kevorkian. He supported his brothers challenging decision. Professor of political science at Dickinson College, Jim Hoefler is an expert in biomedical ethics and end-of -life decision making. He says that Jack Kevorkian "muddied the waters" in the end-of-life debate by choosing to help people who weren't in dire circumstances.

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WNYC News

Physicians on Pharma’s Payroll: Educators or Marketers?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thousands of physicians all over the country get paid by pharmaceutical companies to speak about brand-name medications. Some have made more than $300,000 in speaking fees in the last 18 months. And at least 1,500 of these speakers are licensed in New York.

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WNYC News

New York's Top Earners from Seven Big Pharmaceutical Companies

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This list is based on data released by ProPublica on Oct. 19, 2010. They identified 384 health providers who earned more than $100,000 total from one or more of the following seven companies that have disclosed payments in 2009 and early 2010: Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Cephalon and GlaxoSmithKline. ProPublica says it matched the payee records with licensed doctors and registered nurses. When a match could not be found, for example when a recipient was a pharmacist, ProPublica used other sources to confirm their identities. Read more about how ProPublica compiled this information here.

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Studio 360

A Number

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Kids are prone to asking questions, like “where did I come from?” These become harder to answer when you’ve cloned your son, but no one’s really sure how many of them were made. In Caryl Churchill’s new play, A Number, there are no white coats or labs, ...

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