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The Ethics of Rationing COVID-19 Vaccine for the Sickest Among Us

January 13, 2021 • Posted in Blog

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D Distinguished Fellow

We must not allow our combined COVID-19 fatigue to prevent us from asking important questions about public health ethics. At the time I am writing this essay, we are just transitioning into Phase 2 of the vaccination plan. I am sure our public health officials are doing the best they can under unprecedented circumstances, so we should give them the benefit of the doubt. But for the sake of clarity in the future, some retrospective analysis will be crucial.

For instance, in our own state, we have abandoned traditional triage ethics in favor of a purely age-based more

The Problem of Ill-Gotten Gain in Health Care

October 22, 2020 • Posted in Blog

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow

The politicized debate about President Trump’s treatment for Covid-19 may have shrouded an important set of questions about the science of developing treatments, viz., the problem of ill-gotten gain.

Among other treatment protocols, the President received Regeneron’s REGN-COV2, a “cocktail” of two neutralizing antibodies that has shown promise in some animal studies (see here and here). The media jumped on an association between REGN-COV2 antibodies and fetal cells, some even claiming that the antibodies were developed from fetal cells.


Screenshot of NYT headline on Oct. 8, 2020





The fact of the matter is REGN-COV2 was tested for its virus-neutralizing 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 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 more

Stamp of Approval — or Not

April 30, 2014 • Posted in Blog

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

Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” was honored by this commemorative stamp issued by Transkei in 1982. The Rod of Asclepius — the rod entwined by a serpent — as the symbol of medicine is included on the stamp as well.

Image: Hippocratic Medicine stamp from Australia, recognizing the General Assembly of World Medical Associations (~1968).

Asclepius, the Greek god associated with healing, is one of the gods referred to in the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath (probably not written by Hippocrates, by the way) in its ancient form included swearing to a number of gods and goddesses; forbade more

Justices, 9-0, Bar Patenting Human Genes — NYT

June 14, 2013 • Posted in Atlas

By Adam Liptak — read the story here

Published 13 June 2013

Myriad Genetics CEO Claims He Owns Your Genes — Forbes

April 17, 2013 • Posted in Atlas

Steven Salzberg, Contributor

Published 13 April 2013

Article here.

Philadelphia Abortion Clinic Horror: Column —

April 14, 2013 • Posted in Atlas

By Kirsten Powers

Originally published 11 April 2013

We’ve forgotten what belongs on Page One.

Jumping to Dying

September 30, 2012 • Posted in Blog

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

Executive Director

“Jump off!”

“Stop wasting our time, we’ve been here for ages, do us a favor!” the crowd gathered outside the McDonald’s restaurant shouted to the man 50 feet above them.

The 38-year-old, after eleven hours of police negotiation, relented and did not commit suicide. At least one witness was horrified at the crowd’s reaction. The March 2011 Daily Mail titled the story, “Sick Britain: The jeering crowds who urged suicidal man on McDonald’s roof to ‘jump off’.”

That was Britain in 2011. In the United States in 2012, we have our own more

Perils of Newborn Screening — Scientific American

July 3, 2012 • Posted in Atlas

Doctors may be testing infants for too many diseases.

By Ariel Bleicher

2 July 2012