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The moral code in Islam and organ donation in Western countries: reinterpreting religious scriptures to meet utilitarian medical objectives

June 16, 2014 Comments off

The moral code in Islam and organ donation in Western countries: reinterpreting religious scriptures to meet utilitarian medical objectives
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

End-of-life organ donation is controversial in Islam. The controversy stems from: (1) scientifically flawed medical criteria of death determination; (2) invasive perimortem procedures for preserving transplantable organs; and (3) incomplete disclosure of information to consenting donors and families. Data from a survey of Muslims residing in Western countries have shown that the interpretation of religious scriptures and advice of faith leaders were major barriers to willingness for organ donation. Transplant advocates have proposed corrective interventions: (1) reinterpreting religious scriptures, (2) reeducating faith leaders, and (3) utilizing media campaigns to overcome religious barriers in Muslim communities. This proposal disregards the intensifying scientific, legal, and ethical controversies in Western societies about the medical criteria of death determination in donors. It would also violate the dignity and inviolability of human life which are pertinent values incorporated in the Islamic moral code. Reinterpreting religious scriptures to serve the utilitarian objectives of a controversial end-of-life practice, perceived to be socially desirable, transgresses the Islamic moral code. It may also have deleterious practical consequences, as donors can suffer harm before death. The negative normative consequences of utilitarian secular moral reasoning reset the Islamic moral code upholding the sanctity and dignity of human life.

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Ethical pharmaceutical promotion and communications worldwide: codes and regulations

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Ethical pharmaceutical promotion and communications worldwide: codes and regulations
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The international pharmaceutical industry has made significant efforts towards ensuring compliant and ethical communication and interaction with physicians and patients. This article presents the current status of the worldwide governance of communication practices by pharmaceutical companies, concentrating on prescription-only medicines. It analyzes legislative, regulatory, and code-based compliance control mechanisms and highlights significant developments, including the 2006 and 2012 revisions of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) Code of Practice.

Developments in international controls, largely built upon long-established rules relating to the quality of advertising material, have contributed to clarifying the scope of acceptable company interactions with healthcare professionals. This article aims to provide policy makers, particularly in developing countries, with an overview of the evolution of mechanisms governing the communication practices, such as the distribution of promotional or scientific material and interactions with healthcare stakeholders, relating to prescription-only medicines.

The moral psychology of rationing among physicians: the role of harm and fairness intuitions in physician objections to cost-effectiveness and cost-containment

October 8, 2013 Comments off

The moral psychology of rationing among physicians: the role of harm and fairness intuitions in physician objections to cost-effectiveness and cost-containment
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Introduction
Physicians vary in their moral judgments about health care costs. Social intuitionism posits that moral judgments arise from gut instincts, called “moral foundations.” The objective of this study was to determine if “harm” and “fairness” intuitions can explain physicians’ judgments about cost-containment in U.S. health care and using cost-effectiveness data in practice, as well as the relative importance of those intuitions compared to “purity”, “authority” and “ingroup” in cost-related judgments.

Methods
We mailed an 8-page survey to a random sample of 2000 practicing U.S. physicians. The survey included the MFQ30 and items assessing agreement/disagreement with cost-containment and degree of objection to using cost-effectiveness data to guide care. We used t-tests for pairwise subscale mean comparisons and logistic regression to assess associations with agreement with cost-containment and objection to using cost-effectiveness analysis to guide care.

Results
1032 of 1895 physicians (54%) responded. Most (67%) supported cost-containment, while 54% expressed a strong or moderate objection to the use of cost-effectiveness data in clinical decisions. Physicians who strongly objected to the use of cost-effectiveness data had similar scores in all five of the foundations (all p-values > 0.05). Agreement with cost-containment was associated with higher mean “harm” (3.6) and “fairness” (3.5) intuitions compared to “in-group” (2.8), “authority” (3.0), and “purity” (2.4) (p < 0.05). In multivariate models adjusted for age, sex, region, and specialty, both “harm” and “fairness” were significantly associated with judgments about cost-containment (OR = 1.2 [1.0-1.5]; OR = 1.7 [1.4-2.1], respectively) but were not associated with degree of objection to cost-effectiveness (OR = 1.2 [1.0-1.4]; OR = 0.9 [0.7-1.0]).

Conclusions
Moral intuitions shed light on variation in physician judgments about cost issues in health care.

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States

July 11, 2013 Comments off

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The death penalty by lethal injection is a legal punishment in the United States. Sodium Thiopental, once used in the death penalty cocktail, is no longer available for use in the United States as a consequence of this association. Anesthesiologists possess knowledge of Sodium Thiopental and possible chemical alternatives. Further, lethal injection has the look and feel of a medical act thereby encouraging physician participation and comment. Concern has been raised that the death penalty by lethal injection, is cruel. Physicians are ethically directed to prevent cruelty within the doctor-patient relationship and ethically prohibited from participation in any component of the death penalty. The US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is not cruel per se and is not in conflict with the 8th amendment of the US constitution. If the death penalty is not cruel, it requires no further refinement. If, on the other hand, the death penalty is in fact cruel, physicians have no mandate outside of the doctor patient relationship to reduce cruelty. Any intervention in the name of cruelty reduction, in the setting of lethal injection, does not lead to a more humane form of punishment. If physicians contend that the death penalty can be botched, they wrongly direct that it can be improved. The death penalty cocktail, as a method to reduce suffering during execution, is an unverifiable claim. At best, anesthetics produce an outward appearance of calmness only and do not address suffering as a consequence of the anticipation of death on the part of the condemned.

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States

December 6, 2012 Comments off

The absence of cruelty is not the presence of humanness: physicians and the death penalty in the United States

Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The death penalty by lethal injection is a legal punishment in the United States. Sodium Thiopental, once used in the death penalty cocktail, is no longer available for use in the United States as a consequence of this association. Anesthesiologists possess knowledge of Sodium Thiopental and possible chemical alternatives. Further, lethal injection has the look and feel of a medical act thereby encouraging physician participation and comment. Concern has been raised that the death penalty by lethal injection, is cruel. Physicians are ethically directed to prevent cruelty within the doctor-patient relationship and ethically prohibited from participation in any component of the death penalty. The US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is not cruel per se and is not in conflict with the 8th amendment of the US constitution. If the death penalty is not cruel, it requires no further refinement. If, on the other hand, the death penalty is in fact cruel, physicians have no mandate outside of the doctor patient relationship to reduce cruelty. Any intervention in the name of cruelty reduction, in the setting of lethal injection, does not lead to a more humane form of punishment. If physicians contend that the death penalty can be botched, they wrongly direct that it can be improved. The death penalty cocktail, as a method to reduce suffering during execution, is an unverifiable claim. At best, anesthetics produce an outward appearance of calmness only and do not address suffering as a consequence of the anticipation of death on the part of the condemned.

epistemological and ethical assessment of obesity bias in industrialized countries

December 24, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Bernard Lonergan’s cognitive theory challenges us to raise questions about both the cognitive process through which obesity is perceived as a behavior change issue and the objectivity of such a moral judgment. This theory provides the theoretical tools to affirm that anti-fat discrimination, in the United States of America and in many industrialized countries, is the result of both a group bias that resists insights into the good of other groups and a general bias of anti-intellectualism that tends to set common sense against insights that require any thorough scientific analyses. While general bias diverts the public’s attention away from the true aetiology of obesity, group bias sustains an anti-fat culture that subtly legitimates discriminatory practices and policies against obese people. Even though designing anti-discrimination laws seem to be a reasonable way of protecting obese and overweight individuals from discriminatio, obesity bias can be best addressed by reframing the obesity debate from an environmental perspective from which tools and strategies to address both the social and individual determinants of obesity can be developed. Attention should not be concentrated on individuals’ behaviour as it is related to lifestyle choices, without giving due consideration to the all-encompassing constraining factors which challenge the social and rational blindness of obesity bias.

Full Paper (PDF)

Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition

June 9, 2011 Comments off

Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

Paula Modersohn-Becker, widely considered to have been one of the most important independent Expressionist painters of the early twentieth century, was thirty-one years old when she gave birth to her first child. Following the then-common practice of putting women to bed rest for two-four weeks after delivery, she died of massive pulmonary embolism when she was first allowed to stand, eighteen days after giving birth. Paula had foreseen her death at a young age and was apprehensive about her pregnancy, yet she painted herself as pregnant in her best known self-portrait, thus underlining the importance of the pregnancy in her life. In the light of knowledge available at the time, the authors present a brief discussion of the life and death of Paula Modersohn-Becker as a reflection on the potential dangers of blindly following conventional wisdom in the medical profession.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

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