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Hastings Center Report

Daniel Brudney
My topic is a problem with our practice of surrogate decision-making in health care, namely, the problem of the surrogate who is not doing her job-the surrogate who cannot be reached or the surrogate who seems to refuse to understand or to be unable to understand the clinical situation. The analysis raises a question about the surrogate who simply disagrees with the medical team. One might think that such a surrogate is doing her job-the team just doesn't like how she is doing it. My analysis raises the question of whether (or perhaps when) she should be overridden...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Kristen Underhill
In the struggle over the durability of the Affordable Care Act, defenders of the ACA stand guard at many fronts. A major contribution of the ACA to nondiscrimination law, however, appears increasingly vulnerable. The ACA established significant new nondiscrimination protections for patients under section 1557 and its implementing regulations. Several of these regulations-including protections on the basis of gender identity and pregnancy termination-are now under reconsideration at the Department of Health and Human Services, after a nationwide injunction lasting almost a year...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Joel Michael Reynolds
German philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that humans are defined by care. The term he used, "Sorge," picks out a wide range of caring relations, including sorrow, worry, the making of arrangements, and even fending for another. Since coming to The Hastings Center, I've been struck by the genuine care definitive of its scholars' relationship to their work. Care about newborns, the elderly, and nonhuman animals. Care about doctors, nurses, and health care institutions. Care expressed in the panoply of ways biomedical knowledge and practices inform our havings, doings, and beings in the world...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Nir Eyal, Paul L Romain, Christopher Robertson
In this article, we provide a comprehensive analysis and a normative assessment of rationing through inconvenience as a form of rationing. By "rationing through inconvenience" in the health sphere, we refer to a nonfinancial burden (the inconvenience) that is either intended to cause or has the effect of causing patients or clinicians to choose an option for health-related consumption that is preferred by the health system for its fairness, efficiency, or other distributive desiderata beyond assisting the immediate patient...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
(no author information available yet)
The January-February 2018 issue of the Hastings Center Report includes pieces addressing patient care concerns that lie at the original core of bioethics and pieces that reflect the field's growing breadth. Among the pieces getting at the original core is an article by philosopher Daniel Brudney on the moral values underpinning surrogate decision-making. The article and the two commentaries that follow it contribute to the debate on the moral authority of surrogate decision-makers. Several items in the issue take up matters of public health and health policy...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
James E Sabin
Although "rationing" continues to be a dirty word for the public in health policy discourse, Nir Eyal and colleagues handle the concept exactly right in their article in this issue of the Hastings Center Report. They correctly characterize rationing as an ethical requirement, not a moral abomination. They identify the key health policy question as how rationing can best be done, not whether it should be done at all. They make a cogent defense of what they call "rationing through inconvenience" as a justifiable allocational technique...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Mark Mercurio
Early in my career as a neonatologist, I was called into the hospital for a newborn who would not stop crying. Screaming, really. When I entered the unit, I was greeted by a loud, shrill, distinctive cry. After hearing the history and examining the baby, I just stood there for a while, watching and listening. It took some time, but eventually, I noticed a subtle regularity, a rhythmicity. I took off my watch, placed it on the bed next to the child, and found that the crying briefly grew louder about every six or seven seconds...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Hilde Lindemann
Daniel Brudney's clear-headed analysis, in this issue of the Hastings Center Report, of the difference between a patient's and a surrogate's right to make medical treatment decisions contributes to a longstanding conversation in bioethics. Brudney offers an epistemological and a moral argument for the patient's and the surrogate's right to decide. The epistemological argument is the same for both parties: the (competent) patient has a right to decide because she is presumed to know her own interests better than anyone else, and the surrogate is entitled to make decisions because she knows the patient better than anyone else...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Carolyn P Neuhaus
New techniques for the genetic modification of organisms are creating new strategies for addressing persistent public health challenges. For example, the company Oxitec has conducted field trials internationally-and has attempted to conduct field trials in the United States-of a genetically modified mosquito that can be used to control dengue, Zika, and some other mosquito-borne diseases. In 2016, a report commissioned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine discussed the potential benefits and risks of another strategy, using gene drives...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Susan Dorr Goold
Those who advocate higher out-of-pocket spending, especially high deductibles, to keep health care costs better controlled without losing quality use market language to talk about how people should think about health care. Consumers-that is, patients-should hunt for bargains. Clip coupons. Shop around. Patients need to have more "skin in the game." Consumer-patients will then choose more carefully and prudently and use less unnecessary health care. Unfailingly, "skin" refers to having money at stake...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Lawrence O Gostin
It is staggering to observe the new normal in America: 37.9 percent of adults are obese, and 70.7 percent are either obese or overweight. One out of every five minors is obese. The real tragedy, of course, is the disability, suffering, and early death that devastates families and communities. But all of society pays, with the annual medical cost estimated at $147 billion. The causal pathways are complex, but if we drill down, sugar is a deeply consequential pathway to obesity, and the single greatest dietary source is sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Adira Hulkower, Lauren S Flicker
In this issue of the Hastings Center Report, Daniel Brudney suggests that clinicians have an overly deferential attitude toward their patients' surrogate decision-makers that is rooted in a wrongful investment of moral authority. He maintains that surrogate decision-makers have no moral right to decide for their loved ones and that their value in the decision-making process is limited to their knowledge of their loved one's preferences. If operationalized, Brudney's framework would ease the way for clinicians to remove a surrogate who cannot provide information relevant to the patient's preferences and to resort to a paternalistic model of decision-making...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Stephen C Aldrich
By their nature, the most vexing social problems reflect collisions between social and economic interests of parties with highly divergent views and perspectives on the cause and character of what is at issue and the consequences that flow from it. Conflicts around biotechnology applications are good examples of these problems. When considering the potential consequences of proposed biotechnology applications, an enormous range of perspectives arise reflecting the breadth of different and often competing interests with a stake in life's future...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Adam Oliver
Different applications of synthetic biology are alike in that their possible negative consequences are highly uncertain, potentially catastrophic, and perhaps irreversible; therefore, they are also alike in that public attitudes about them are fertile ground for behavioral economic phenomena. Findings from behavioral economics suggest that people may not respond to such applications according to the normal rules of economic evaluation, by which the value of an outcome is multiplied by the mathematical probability that the outcome will occur...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Wendell Wallach, Marc Saner, Gary Marchant
For many innovations, oversight fits nicely within existing governance mechanisms; nevertheless, others pose unique public health, environmental, and ethical challenges. Synthetic artemisinin, for example, has many precursors in laboratory-developed drugs that emulate natural forms of the same drug. The policy challenges posed by synthetic artemisinin do not differ significantly in kind from other laboratory-formulated drugs. Synthetic biofuels and gene drives, however, fit less clearly into existing governance structures...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Gregory E Kaebnick, Michael K Gusmano
Can we make wise policy decisions about still-emerging technologies-decisions that are grounded in facts yet anticipate unknowns and promote the public's preferences and values? There is a widespread feeling that we should try. There also seems to be widespread agreement that the central element in wise decisions is the assessment of benefits and costs, understood as a process that consists, at least in part, in measuring, tallying, and comparing how different outcomes would affect the public interest. But how benefits and costs are best weighed when making decisions about whether to move forward with an emerging technology is not clear...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
Andrew Stirling, Josie Coburn
The purpose of this essay is to critically review the design of methods for ethically robust forms of technology appraisal in the regulation of research and innovation in synthetic biology. It will focus, in particular, on the extent to which cost-benefit analysis offers a basis for informing decisions about which technological pathways to pursue and which to discourage. A further goal is to consider what (if anything) the precautionary principle might offer in enabling better decisions. And this, in turn, raises questions about why mention of precaution can excite accusations of unscientific bias or irrational, "anti-innovation" extremism...
January 2018: Hastings Center Report
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