The current normative debate on age-related biomedical innovations and the extension of the human lifespan has important shortcomings. Mainly, the complexity of the different normative dimensions relevant for ethical and/or juridicial norms is not fully developed and the normative quality of teleological and deontological arguments is not properly distinguished. This article addresses some of these shortcomings and develops the outline of a more comprehensive normative framework covering all relevant dimensions.
Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine
To ask whether social medicine still matters may seem to be in poor taste at a symposium to honor Martin Cherkasky, but social medicine has always had the courage to take on difficult questions. There is all the more reason to do so when its legitimacy is challenged. The extraordinary findings emerging from the human genome project will revolutionize diagnostic and therapeutic methods in medicine. The power of medical interventions, for good and for harm, will increase enormously.
Bioethics has focused on the areas of individual ethical choices -- patient care -- or public policy and law. There are however, important arenas for ethical choices that have been overlooked. Health care is populated with intermediate arenas such as hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and health care systems. This essay argues that bioethics needs to develop a language and concepts for institutional ethics. A first step in this direction is to think about institutional conscience.
Religious discussion of human organs and tissues has concentrated largely on donation for therapeutic purposes. The retrieval and use of human tissue samples in diagnostic, research, and education contexts have, by contrast, received very little direct theological attention. Initially undertaken at the behest of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, this essay seeks to explore the theological and religious questions embedded in nontherapeutic use of human tissue.
As the twentieth century closes, marked by triumphal strides in medical advances, the American society has yet to ensure that each person has access to affordable health care. To correct this injustice, this article calls on the nation's political and corporate leaders, providers, and faith-based groups to join all Americans in a new national conversation on systemic health care reform.
Government and market forces have fundamentally transformed the religious healthcare sector. Religious healthcare organizations are struggling to define their identities and determine what it is that makes them different and what implications the differences have for the delivery of social services and for public life.
This essay attempts to describe contemporary Catholic sponsored health care in the United States and to describe the purpose and structure of these particular Christian charitable organizations within the broader society. As health care has become more complex, critics claim that there is not a need for Catholic sponsored health care any longer. The author attempts to evaluate critically whether Catholic health care has a place in contemporary society.
Discussions of genetic enhancements often imply deep suspicions about human desires to manipulate or enhance the course of our future. These unspoken assumptions about the arrogance of the quest for perfection are at odds with the normally hopeful resonancy we find in contemporary theology. The author argues that these fears, suspicions and accusations are misplaced. The problem lies not with the question of whether we should pursue perfection, but rather what perfection we are pursuing.
The topic of organ transplantation is examined from the perspective of three authors: Robert Bellah, Jeremy Rifkin, and Margaret Jane Radin. Introduced by reflections on the development of the justification of organ transplantation within the Roman Catholic community and the various themes raised by the historical study in Richard Titmuss's The Gift Relationship, the paper examines how and in what ways the possible commodification of organs will affect our society and the impacts this may have on the supply of organs.
In addressing issues of access to health care and rationing, Jewish and Roman Catholic writers identify similar guiding values and specific concerns. Moral thinkers in each tradition tend to support the guarantee of universal access to at least a basic level of health care for all members of society, based on such values as human dignity, justice, and healing. Catholic writers are more likely to frame their arguments in terms of the common good and to be more accepting of rationing that denies beneficial and needed health care to some persons.