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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

AMA Resists Embracing “Neutrality” on Physician-Assisted Suicide

June 11, 2019 • Posted in Blog

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

Yesterday, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates voted to retain the current position of the AMA RE physician-assisted suicide. That was the recommendation of the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA), and the CEJA report was accepted by a 65:35 majority, according to the National Right to Life News.

CEJA is responsible for maintaining and updating the AMA’s Medical Code of Ethics, and promoting “adherence to the Code’s professional ethical standards.” Last year, CEJA recommended maintaining the long-held AMA stance against physician-assisted suicide, but the House of Delegates rejected that recommendation. Further ...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

Medicine’s Schizophrenic Approach to Suicide

June 14, 2018 • Posted in Blog

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

On 10 May 2018, Medscape Medical News published an article about the recent suicides — five days apart — of an NYU psychiatry resident and a medical student. Marcia Frellick, reporting for Medscape, wrote

The university confirmed the deaths to Medscape Medical News in a statement: “We were saddened to learn of the recent deaths of one of our medical students and one of our psychiatry residents, both by suicide. Counseling and support services are being offered to students, faculty, and staff. On behalf of the institution, we extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends, ...read more

The ACP Releases a Position Paper on Physician-Assisted Suicide

September 27, 2017 • Posted in Blog

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

On 19 September 2017, the Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee of the American College of Physicians released their position paper on physician-assisted suicide (P-AS). A brief synopsis of it follows…

Re: Ethics and the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

The statement released last week builds on previous work:

1997 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End of Life, which cited “inadequate end-of-life care” in the U.S. 2001 statement by the American College of Physicians, in which the ACP did not support the legalization of P-AS. ...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

What’s Happening with Physician-Assisted Suicide?

January 31, 2017 • Posted in Blog

Mrs. Jane Patton is a Vanderbilt University graduate, a nurse, and worked most recently in clinical research. Her interest in bioethics began in college with thinking through Roe v. Wade and the inherent value of human life. She has done further work in bioethics, and now volunteers with The Tennessee CBC. Below, Jane Patton addresses recent developments in physician-assisted suicide.

Here we are in 2017, loaded with the benefits of technological innovation. In healthcare the movement is at warp speed such that we can be like frogs in the proverbial frying pan, not taking to heart the implications of such rapid and ...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

What Hippocrates Knew

April 27, 2016 • Posted in Blog

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

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. John Patrick speak. It was a fairly wide-ranging lecture, but the mention of the Registry of Hippocratic Physicians caught my ear. So I contacted him to ask about that, and he agreed to a telephone interview. That follows below . . .

D. Joy Riley (DJR): How shall I introduce you to our readers? You are a British physician, with extensive experience feeding malnourished children in the Caribbean and Africa. You now call Ottawa, Canada, your home. What else do they need to know about you?

Dr. John Patrick ...read more