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Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy

Greg Stapleton, Wybo Dondorp, Peter Schröder-Bäck, Guido de Wert
Developments in Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) and cell-free fetal DNA analysis raise the possibility that antenatal services may soon be able to support couples in non-invasively testing for, and diagnosing, an unprecedented range of genetic disorders and traits coded within their unborn child's genome. Inevitably, this has prompted debate within the bioethics literature about what screening options should be offered to couples for the purpose of reproductive choice. In relation to this problem, the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) and American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) tentatively recommend that any expansion of this type of screening, as facilitated by NIPT, should be limited to serious congenital and childhood disorders...
February 15, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Seppe Segers, Guido Pennings, Heidi Mertes
People who are involuntarily childless need to use assisted reproductive technologies if they want to have a genetically related child. Yet, from an ethical point of view it is unclear to what extent assistance to satisfy this specific desire should be warranted. We first show that the subjectively felt harm due to the inability to satisfy this reproductive desire does not in itself entail the normative conclusion that it has to be met. In response, we evaluate the alternative view according to which the satisfaction of this desire is regarded as a way to meet one's presumed intermediate need for parenthood...
February 13, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Giulia Inguaggiato, Suzanne Metselaar, Rouven Porz, Guy Widdershoven
In today's pluralistic society, clinical ethics consultation cannot count on a pre-given set of rules and principles to be applied to a specific situation, because such an approach would deny the existence of different and divergent backgrounds by imposing a dogmatic and transcultural morality. Clinical ethics support (CES) needs to overcome this lack of foundations and conjugate the respect for the difference at stake with the necessity to find shared and workable solutions for ethical issues encountered in clinical practice...
January 25, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Simone van der Burg, Floris H B M Schreuder, Catharina J M Klijn, Marcel M Verbeek
What is the value of an early (presymptomatic) diagnosis of dementia in the absence of effective treatment? There has been a lively scholarly debate over this question, but until now (future) patients have not played a large role in it. Our study supplements biomedical research into innovative diagnostics with an exlporation of its meanings and values according to (future) patients. Based on seven focusgroups with (future) patients and their care-givers, we conclude that stakeholders evaluate early diagnostics with respect to whether and how they expect it to empower their capacity to (self-) care...
January 24, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Ruud Ter Meulen
This article presents a critical analysis of the views of Michael Sandel on human enhancement in his book The Case Against Perfection (2007). Sandel argues that the use of biotechnologies for human enhancement is driven by a will to mastery or hybris, leading to an 'explosion of responsibility' and a disappearance of solidarity. I argue that Sandel is using a traditional concept of solidarity which leaves little room for individual differences and which is difficult to reconcile with the modern trend towards individual autonomy and cultural heterogeneity...
January 23, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Federico Nicoli, Paul Cummins, Joseph A Raho, Rouven Porz, Giulio Minoja, Mario Picozzi
The aim of this paper is to analyze an Intensive Care Unit case that required ethics consultation at a University Hospital in Northern Italy. After the case was resolved, a retrospective ethical analysis was performed by four clinical ethicists who work in different healthcare contexts (Italy, the United States, and Switzerland). Each ethicist used a different method to analyze the case; the four general approaches provide insight into how these ethicists conduct ethics consultations at their respective hospitals...
January 22, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Anke Bueter
The distinction between 'disease' and 'illness' has played an important role in the debate between naturalism and normativism. Both employ these notions, yet disagree on whether to assign priority to 'disease' or 'illness'. I argue that this discussion suffers from implicit differences in the underlying interpretations: While for naturalists the distinction between 'disease' and 'illness' is one between a descriptive and a prescriptive notion, for normativists it is one between cause and effect. This discrepancy is connected to different interpretations of priority, which also tend to be conflated in the debate...
January 16, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Bert Gordijn, Henk Ten Have
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 16, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Emily R Herrington, Lisa S Parker
Despite having paved the way for face, womb and penis transplants, hand transplantation today remains a small hybrid of reconstructive microsurgery and transplant immunology. An exceptionally limited patient population internationally (N < 200) complicates medical researchers' efforts to parse outcomes "objectively." Presumed functional and psychosocial benefits of gaining a transplant hand must be weighed in both patient decisions and bioethical discussions against the difficulty of adhering to post-transplant medications, the physical demands of hand transplant recovery on the patient, and the serious long-term health risks of immunosuppressant drugs...
January 4, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Henrik Lerner
Definitions of health in terms of some kind of balance form a category of their own within the sphere of health definition. Such definitions have their roots in the beginnings of scientific medicine, and popular versions are common among lay people. It has even been claimed that balance is fundamental to health for all species. Several present-day definitions of health in terms of balance are presented here. Particular attention is given to the call for a definition of health applicable to both humans and animals within the One Health approach, involving human medicine, veterinary medicine and ecology...
January 2, 2019: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Henk Ten Have, Bert Gordijn
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Riana J Betzler
This paper argues that enthusiasm for empathy has grown to the point at which empathy has taken on the status of an "ideal" in modern medicine. We need to pause and scrutinize this ideal before moving forward with empathy training programs for medical students. Taking empathy as an ideal obscures the distinction between the multiple aims that calls for empathy seek to achieve. While these aims may work together, they also come apart and yield different recommendations about the sort of behavior physicians should cultivate in a given situation...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
A C L Holden
The rise and persistence of a commercial model of healthcare and the potential shift towards the commodification of dental services, provided to consumers, should provoke thought about the nature and purpose of dentistry and whether this paradigm is cause for concern. Within this article, whether dentistry is a commodity and the legitimacy of dentistry as a business is explored and assessed. Dentistry is perceived to be a commodity, dependent upon the context of how services are to be provided and the interpretation of the patient-professional relationship...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Michal Pruski
Medical resource allocation is a controversial topic, because in the end it prioritises some peoples' medical problems over those of others. This is less controversial when there is a clear clinical reason for such a prioritisation, but when such a reason is not available people might perceive it as deeming certain individuals more important than others. This article looks at the role of social utility in medical resource allocation, in a situation where the clinical outcome would be identical if either person received the treatment...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
David A Jensen
Seemingly ever improving medical technology and techniques portend the possibility of prenatally enhancing otherwise healthy, normal children-seamlessly enhancing or adding to a child's natural abilities and characteristics. Though parents normally engage in enhancing children, i.e., child rearing, these technologies present radically new possibilities. This sort of enhancement, I argue, is morally problematic for the parent: the expectations of the enhancing parent necessarily conflict with attitudes of acceptance that moral parenting requires...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Alberto Giubilini, Thomas Douglas, Julian Savulescu
We argue that individuals who have access to vaccines and for whom vaccination is not medically contraindicated have a moral obligation to contribute to the realisation of herd immunity by being vaccinated. Contrary to what some have claimed, we argue that this individual moral obligation exists in spite of the fact that each individual vaccination does not significantly affect vaccination coverage rates and therefore does not significantly contribute to herd immunity. Establishing the existence of a moral obligation to be vaccinated (both for adults and for children) despite the negligible contribution each vaccination can make to the realisation of herd immunity is important because such moral obligation would strengthen the justification for coercive vaccination policies...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
M W Vegter
Precision Medicine has become a common label for data-intensive and patient-driven biomedical research. Its intended future is reflected in endeavours such as the Precision Medicine Initiative in the USA. This article addresses the question whether it is possible to discern a new 'medical cosmology' in Precision Medicine, a concept that was developed by Nicholas Jewson to describe comprehensive transformations involving various dimensions of biomedical knowledge and practice, such as vocabularies, the roles of patients and physicians and the conceptualisation of disease...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Verna Jans, Wybo Dondorp, Ellen Goossens, Heidi Mertes, Guido Pennings, Guido de Wert
In the field of medically assisted reproduction (MAR), there is a growing emphasis on the importance of introducing new assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) only after thorough preclinical safety research, including the use of animal models. At the same time, there is international support for the three R's (replace, reduce, refine), and the European Union even aims at the full replacement of animals for research. The apparent tension between these two trends underlines the urgency of an explicit justification of the use of animals for the development and preclinical testing of new ARTs...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Anders Herlitz
It is a common view that benefits to the worse off should be given priority when health benefits are distributed. This paper addresses how to understand who is worse off in this context when individuals are differently well off at different times. The paper argues that the view that this judgment about who is worse off should be based solely on how well off individuals are when their complete lives are considered (i.e. 'the complete lives view') is implausible in this context. Instead, it is argued that a pluralistic stance toward this issue should be accepted...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Marjolein Oele
This paper contends, following Plato and Broekman, that (1) seeing images as images is crucial to theorizing medicine and that (2) considering clinical pictures as images of images is a much-needed epistemic complement to the domineering view that sees clinical pictures as mirrors of disease. This does not only offer epistemic, but also ethical benefits to individual patients, especially in those cases where patients suffer from chronic, debilitating, and terminal illnesses and where medicine provides no, or limited, answers in terms of treatment, intervention, and meaning...
December 2018: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
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