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Why “Provider” is a Four-letter Word

May 13, 2022 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Family and friends of Dr. Robert D. Orr recently gathered in Vermont to mark his passing. Due to previous COVID restrictions, this celebration of his life took place almost a year after his passing. Dr. Orr, a nationally-recognized physician and medical ethicist, was a mentor to many, many physicians and medical students, including this writer. He is sorely missed.

It is fair to say that Dr. Orr despised the term “provider” as an appellation of a physician. He once surprised a colleague of mine who had submitted a paper to him. He told my colleague that ...read more

Who is He and what has he done to our children?

April 6, 2022 • Posted in Blog

  Joyce A. Shelton, Ph.D. Professor of Biology Emerita Trinity International University

Remember He Jiankui? He is the Chinese scientist who used CRISPR technology to edit the CCR5 gene for the HIV receptor in the genomes of human embryos. His goal was to make them HIV resistant. He reported at an international conference in 2018 that two of the edited embryos had resulted in the live births of non-identical twins, Nana and Lulu. There were also reports of a third child born in 2019. His revelations in a public forum provoked moral outrage from the scientific community. Global pressure caused Chinese authorities to suspend ...read more

I Should Have Read More History

March 9, 2022 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

As a teenager, I decided I wanted to be a physician — to help people. I also naively thought that medicine was apolitical. I should have read more history. If I had, I might have come across the story of Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis.

Semmelweis was born to Hungarian parents slightly more than 200 years ago, in 1818. Although he began to study law, he ended up graduating from medical school in 1844. Other plans of his changed as well. When he did not land a position in internal medicine, he spent four extra months training to ...read more

Life and Choice

January 22, 2022 • Posted in Blog

Janet Liljestrand, M.D., M.A.

In 1862 Louis Pasteur performed the definitive experiment that proved even the smallest organisms, those only seen under the microscope, derived from other like organisms. (1) Life came from life. Fast forward to 1973, and Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority decision in Roe v. Wade stated “We need not resolve the difficult decision of when life begins”. (2) What was the Justice’s definition of life? The human zygote contains all it needs for cellular division–and thus growth–at the union of a living sperm and living egg. How then has its human life not begun? Yes, in ...read more

Guinea Pigs

November 10, 2021 • Posted in Blog

Joyce A. Shelton, Ph.D. Professor of Biology Emerita Trinity International University

Successful xenotransplantation, animal donor to human recipient organ transfer, is the holy grail for medical doctors and scientists who study organ transplant. Why? Approximately 107,000 people are awaiting organ transplant in the US. Most will wait up to 2 to 3 years. About 17 people die per day because there are not enough organs available to meet the demand (1). Animal organs that have been genetically engineered to remove tissue molecules that cause transplant rejection would go a long way toward relieving the organ shortage.

A recently proclaimed major transplantation breakthrough attracted widespread ...read more

Risk versus Benefit

October 18, 2021 • Posted in Blog

Janet Liljestrand, M.D., M.A.

Whether we realize it or not, we weigh the benefit versus the risk of most decisions, large and small. When making medical decisions, physicians will sometimes refer to the risk/benefit ratio. A math problem with numbers? Unfortunately not, but a clinical judgment seeking to determine if the benefit that this particular patient is likely to receive is greater or lesser than the risks the patient will be assuming with the procedure or medication.

Childhood immunizations risks are often stated to be less than one in a million. With such a low risk, the benefits are great by comparison. ...read more

Human Dignity — A First Principle

September 20, 2021 • Posted in Blog

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture

After the horrific human rights abuses of Nazi Germany were revealed at the end of World War II, an international tribunal was held in Nuremberg to try those who were responsible for the Holocaust. Hard on the heels of those Nuremberg Trials (1945-46) followed the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) which enshrined the notion of human dignity, declaring that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of ...read more

What We’re Reading

July 17, 2021 • Posted in Blog

www.CartoonStock.com  

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow

Medically assisted deaths rose by 17% in 2020, continuing upward trend: Health Canada

By Joan Bryden The Canadian Press Posted June 8, 2021 1:01 am

I have several concerns about this situation:

For Health Canada, the government health service, to provide access to P-AS is a financial conflict of interest. Medicalized suicide should not be in the hands of those who hold the purse strings. Pain is manageable but other forms of suffering are not best treated with analgesics. True palliative care must address all forms of suffering. Medicine should not be coopted by the P-AS ...read more

If Monkeys Could Talk

May 13, 2021 • Posted in Blog

Joyce A. Shelton, Ph.D. Professor of Biology, Trinity International University Guest Column

Recent news announcements proclaimed, with both excitement and alarm, that Tan and colleagues, scientists from China and the US, had successfully produced human-monkey hybrid embryos. (1, 2) The hybrids (also termed chimeras) were made by injecting human pluripotent stem cells from an induced pluripotent stem cell line into 132 early- stage monkey embryos. Human pluripotent stem cells have the capacity to develop into a range of tissues and cell types which ultimately form all the structures of the human body including the brain and reproductive cells (sperm and egg). (3) In ...read more

Tennessee Legislative Update: Commercial Surrogacy and a Pot of Gold

April 17, 2021 • Posted in Blog

  By D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

References to pots of gold usually occur in the month of March, and involve leprechauns and rainbows. This year, pots of gold figure in at least one set of companion bills (House Bill No. 1379 and Senate Bill No. 425) the Tennessee Legislature is transforming into law. Instead of leprechauns and rainbows, though, it is the fertility physicians/clinics and “third-party reproductive care for the benefit of the enrollee(s).” The pots of gold are to be provided by “insurance companies,” which means, of course, “the insured,” which would include all of us who pay insurance ...read more