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Focusing on “Culture”

July 27, 2020 • Posted in Blog

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

The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture exists to promote human dignity in the face of 21st Century bioethics challenges. Our theme for 2020 is Human Flourishing. Living in the surreal time of a pandemic with all the increased complexity of our lives, flourishing can almost seem too high an ideal. Artist Carol Harkness penned the following essay (lightly edited) about the important building blocks of culture—integrally related to flourishing—and that not only for our day.

We are still busy with bioethics as well. Here are a few recent articles you may want to check out:

“Dying ...read more

Life Without Us?

November 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog

By Jane Patton, Guest Columnist

It is not new that some people say that they do not want to bring children into the world. And, as far as the do’s and don’ts of being environmentally responsible, the carbon footprint of a single human being tops the list of avoidable behaviors. One presidential candidate even advocates abortion as a way to combat climate change. So, it may be okay to have one or two children. Any more than that and parents might be called selfish.

But, a growing movement is taking the idea of limiting births to the next level—preventing all births. Who ...read more

Shift and Puzzle: What do an ape and a donkey have to do with bioethics?

January 31, 2019 • Posted in Blog

Unmasking the Cultural Lies, One at a Time

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

In C. S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, Shift is a shrewd, crafty ape, and his neighbor, Puzzle, is a meek, somewhat simple donkey. It has been a long time since Aslan, the all-powerful lion, has been seen in Narnia. Therefore, when Shift spies an old lion skin, he decides to have Puzzle dress up in it and pretend to be Aslan. Shift constantly insists that Puzzle do all the heavy-lifting involved in any of their escapades, but in such a way that Puzzle thinks he is getting the ...read more

What if we call it “Medical Aid in Dying”?

October 31, 2018 • Posted in Blog

 

A Lesson from History

In the aftermath of WWII, Leo Alexander penned the following as part of an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The Example of Successful Resistance by the Physicians of the Netherlands There is no doubt that in Germany itself the first and most effective step of propaganda within the medical profession was the propaganda barrage against the useless, incurably sick described above. Similar, even more subtle efforts were made in some of the occupied countries. It is to the everlasting honor of the medical profession of Holland that they recognized the earliest and most subtle ...read more

Helping Patients Live vs. Helping Them Die

June 6, 2017 • Posted in Blog

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

Cultural Suicide On Sunday, 28 May 2017, The Tennessean published a full page set of articles on the problem of suicide amongst the armed forces in our nation. The year 2012 saw a peak of 22 U.S. veterans killing themselves per day (Jake Lowary, “‘I can’t do barbecues:’ Veteran says“). The Department of Veterans Affairs plans a 7.5 percent budget increase to $186.1 million in 2018 — all to address suicide prevention, the department’s “highest clinical priority” (Jake Lowary, “Suicide rising in the military, but some programs give veterans hope“).

In light of these sobering statistics, it ...read more

Morphing and Transforming: The Physician-Assisted Suicide Debate

May 31, 2016 • Posted in Blog

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

For years, Jack Kevorkian was synonymous with assisted suicide. Seeing patients after death was not sufficient for the pathologist; he wanted to help them to that state. Kevorkian’s first kit was made from flea-market items. That was 1989; the euthanasia group at that time was called “The Hemlock Society.”

Kevorkian lived in Michigan; ironically, his first subject, Janet Adkins, traveled from Portland, Oregon, in 1990 to use Kevorkian’s machine in his parked van. He started her i.v., but she had to activate the machine to administer the lethal substances.

Kevorkian went to prison for his illegal activities, ...read more

Taking stock: Where are we now?

January 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

Taking stock of where one is at the beginning of a new project or a new year is a good idea. Where we are in the entire realm of bioethics is beyond the scope of one blog post, but what follows are some landmarks discernible in January 2016…

Physician-Assisted Suicide

On Sunday, 24 January, John Jay Hooker, Tennessee lawyer, politician, and activist, died. Mr. Hooker had most recently championed “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide — in a proposed bill and in the courts. By the time of his death, neither the legislature nor the courts had provided ...read more

We Were There…

December 29, 2015 • Posted in Blog

As the year 2015 comes to a close, we at The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture look back over a year of involvement in a number of important bioethics issues.

1) We were there when the Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee met in Legislative Plaza Room 12 on 9 June 2015 to hear testimony regarding “Death with Dignity,” otherwise known as Physician-assisted Suicide (P-AS). We heard the testimony of John Jay Hooker and others promoting the bill. The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture stayed after a prominent news anchor and her television crew left the hearing. We stayed so we ...read more

Chancellor McCoy and the Way of Wisdom

September 30, 2015 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

What does Tennessee have to do with Switzerland (featured in the fake ad pictured below)? Less than it could have, given yesterday’s decision to uphold the State of Tennessee’s ban on assisted suicide. The decision by Chancellor Carol L. McCoy has the rather counter-intuitive effect of the State winning without someone losing their head. Read on below for the details . . .

Fake ad image from Salvo, used with permission.

“If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs and blaming it on you . . ...read more

Shifting Gears on Physician-Assisted Suicide?

August 31, 2015 • Posted in Atlas

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

How “neutral” can one be regarding assisted suicide? How about a medical organization? This past week, The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture sent a letter of concern to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization:

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:52:22 -0500

Subject: Physician-assisted suicide

Dear Board Members and Staff of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization:

It has come to my attention that you, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), are now considering changing your position statement from “opposing” physician-assisted suicide (P-AS) to taking a “neutral” ...read more