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A Day in the Life of a Patient

November 30, 2022 • Posted in Blog

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

30 November 2022

Her son asked if I could be there by 9:00 A.M., when the hospitalist would likely make rounds. I agreed, and made the three-hour journey on a Monday in November. My friend was the patient, and I, a visitor. What I saw in the ensuing hours made me beyond sad.

A nurse came in to “take her vitals.” That meant she wheeled in a cart with various measuring components: a wristband to measure blood pressure, a probe to take the patient’s temperature, and a pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen content. The patient was ...read more

What We’re Reading

August 31, 2022 • Posted in Blog

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

Summer often presents us with some time to relax, rejuvenate, and read. We thought you may wish to know what we’re reading. We’d enjoy receiving your comments about any of these after you’ve read them. You can contact us here. You are welcome to share with us what you’re reading as well!

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D.:

All That Moves Us by Jay Wellons: 9780593243367 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Irreversible Damage – The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters | Regnery Publishing

You’re Only Human | Baker Publishing Group

Joyce A. Shelton, Ph.D.:

Synthetic mouse embryos created from stem cells — without sperm, eggs, ...read more

Podcast Interview: Transhumanism and the Quest for Technological Immortality

August 4, 2022 • Posted in Blog

In this episode of The Political Animals, our Distinguished Fellow C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., discusses transhumanism. Listen below!

The Political Animals

In this episode, Jonathan talks to bioethicist Ben Mitchell about transhumanism. They discuss the origins, philosophy and goals of the transhumanist movement, the movement’s desire for a post human future, the impact of technology on the human being, including the possibility of uploading consciousness to a computer, or merging the human brain with technology, and finally what it actually means to be human. Listen now.

 

Informed Consent: A Hazy Concept

July 22, 2022 • Posted in Blog

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

We’re all too familiar with those awkward television commercials for drugs whose names cannot be pronounced because they have too many consonants. To be fair, drug manufacturers have run out of eloquent ways to combine the letters of the alphabet, so they just string them together as best they can. But beyond the alphabet soup, the television voice recites a sometimes-arresting list of possible complications of taking the drug: dizziness, insomnia, tiredness—or the even more arresting—intense sexual or gambling urges and explosive diarrhea, which hopefully do not occur simultaneously! The ...read more

GATTACA: 25 Years On

June 30, 2022 • Posted in Blog

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

(Editor’s Note: The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture screened GATTACA at the end of June at the international bioethics conference held by the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity at Trinity International University. Dr. Shelton presented opening remarks, which, lightly edited, are presented here.)

The movie, GATTACA, is entertaining to watch as is, but is also rife with symbolism and subtle—and some not so subtle—philosophical messages. 25 years on: it has proved to be prescient in a number of ways.

GATTACA depicts a dystopian world in which there is a new type of social ...read more

What Does Autonomy Have to Do with It?

June 9, 2022 • Posted in Blog

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

On the second day of May, 2022, a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion in the Mississippi Dobbs case, regarding abortion, was leaked to the media. The resulting cultural distress frenzy has been somewhat akin to dropping meat into a pool of piranhas. Much energy is being spent in projecting what will happen if the final decision resembles the draft. A summer of rage is being threatened by some abortion supporters.

Where, O where, is reason in all of the verbiage? Interestingly and amazingly, a book of compassionate pro-life counters to abortion advocates was published by Moody ...read more

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