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Physicians who care for critically ill people with opioid use disorder frequently face medical, legal, and ethical questions related to the provision of life-saving medical care. We examine a complex medical case that illustrates these challenges in a person with relapsing injection drug use. We focus on a specific question: Is futility an appropriate and useful standard by which to determine provision of life-saving care to such individuals? If so, how should such determinations be made? If not, what alternative decisionmaking framework exists? We determine that although futility has been historically utilized as a justification for withholding care in certain settings, it is not a useful standard to apply in cases involving people who use injection drugs for non-medical purposes. Instead, we are welladvised to explore each patient's situation in a holistic approach that includes the patient, family members, and care providers in the decision-making process. The scope of the problem illustrated demonstrates the urgent need to definitively improve outcomes in people who use injection drugs. Increasing access to high quality medication-assisted treatment and psychiatric care for individuals with opioid use disorder will help our patients achieve a sustained remission and allow us to reach this goal.
Advances in human genetics and genomics are beginning to move outside the traditional realm of medicine and into the classroom. How will educational officials react when asked to incorporate personalized genomic information into the educational program? This volume bridges the divide between science, education and ethics around the emergent integration of genomics and education. By pairing comprehensive analysis of the issues with primers on the underlying science, the authors put all relevant parties on a level field to facilitate thorough consideration and educated discussion regarding how to move forward in this new era, as well as how best to support the future of education and the future of all students. The volume is unique in bringing together not only scholarly experts but also parents and laypersons. In doing so, it gives voice and understanding to a broad spectrum of disciplines that have a stake in the future of education.
My aim in this paper is simply to show that, in bioethics no less than in other areas of health care, policy in democracies is shaped not only by principles and values, but also — and to some extent independently — by the shape and history of particular political institutions and past policies. “Path dependency,” or what one scholar has called the “accidental logics” of already-existing institutions, condition and guide national policy choices. These institutional and historical pressures can even create substantial policy divergences between quite likeminded nations. I shall illustrate the point using some comparative data about national policies regarding research on human embryonic stem cells. The fact that gaps can develop between values and policies is readily visible to anyone who compares national stemcell research policies to the expressed attitudes of the citizens of various democratic countries regarding human embryonic stem-cell research. The role of path dependency and the accidental logics of institutional structure in creating those gaps can be illustrated by tracking down the details of the development of human embryonic stem cell policies in a few different countries.
The question of whether the normative testimony of ethics experts should be admissible under the rules of evidence has been the subject of much debate. Professor Imwinkelried's paper is an effort to get us, for a moment, to change that subject. He seeks to turn our attention, instead, to a means by which bioethics experts’ normative analyses might come before the court without regard to the rules of evidence - a means lying formally outside those rules’ jurisdiction. The court, he argues, may freely consider evidence from expert bioethicists so long as it is performing a legislative rather than an adjudicative function. The rules of evidence apply to the court's efforts to find the facts of a particular case, Imwinkelried argues, but they do not constrain the court's investigations relative to its creative law-making efforts.
The most publicized finding of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report is that between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year as a result of “adverse events” in medical care. The core concern of the report is to argue that a "systems" approach to medical practice holds out considerable promise for the elimination of the subset of those “adverse events” which are the result of medical error. The report outlines the “systems” approach and proposes various public policies which might encourage the adoption of that approach, enhance its effectiveness and protect it from potentially undermining legal assaults.
A large and growing number of physicians in today’s managed care market are paid for their services according to incentive schemes that offer financial rewards for the provision of less, and less expensive, medical care. Such schemes typically reward physicians for reducing their own costs of care and reward primary care physicians for reducing the number and cost of referrals for inpatient and specialty care. Consumers, fearful that such schemes will prompt physicians to deny them medically necessary care, have protested the implementation of such incentive plans. Various states are considering bills to ban or to limit physician incentive payments.
Federal policy with regard to incentive schemes has been confused and contradictory. On one hand, regulators concerned with controlling health care costs and limiting the provision of unnecessary care have encouraged such financial incentives. For example, federal Stark regulations, which ban referrals tied to physician compensation, include explicit exceptions for incentive schemes.
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