The computer revolution has had an enormous effect on all aspects of the practice of medicine, yet little thought has been given to the role of social media in identifying treatment choices for incompetent patients. We are currently living in the ?Internet age? and many people have integrated social media into all aspects of their lives. As use becomes more prevalent, and as users age, social media are more likely to be viewed as a source of information regarding medical care (...) preferences. This article explores the ethical and legal issues raised by the use of social media in surrogate decision making. (shrink)
In July, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Science and Technology Policy published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) proposing sweeping changes to the rules governing oversight of research on human subjects—changes aimed at “better protect[ing] human subjects who are involved in research, while facilitating valuable research and reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators.”1 The process is likely to amend not only the core regulation on human-subjects research (known as the “common rule”), but (...) also regulations governing vulnerable subjects, IRB registration requirements, research regulations of the Food and Drug Administration, and the “privacy rule” of the .. (shrink)
The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, significantly changes the health care landscape. But even with the considerable expansion of insurance, many people will still lack coverage. When fully implemented, the act is designed only to cover about thirty-two million of the forty-six million uninsured Americans. Illegal aliens are specifically excluded. For others, implementation is not immediate; the so-called individual mandate, for example, does not take effect until 2014, and there are exceptions for (...) people for whom available policies are still too expensive, or who have religious objections. Once in effect, the mandate has limited penalties, and some people will choose .. (shrink)
This essay considers the potential role of bioethics in disaster response planning and preparedness. Bioethicists can make substantial contributions, by ensuring that decision-making and distribution of resources during crises is carried out in a fair and just manner, as well as by examining the assumptions upon which disaster planning are based. Bioethicists should also be aware of potential pitfalls of overly-hasty engagement with this new field.
The physician-patient relationship has changed over the last several decades, requiring a systematic reevaluation of the competing demands of patients, physicians, and families. In the era of genetic testing, using a model of patient care known as the family covenant may prove effective in accounting for these demands. The family covenant articulates the roles of the physician, patient, and the family prior to genetic testing, as the participants consensually define them. The initial agreement defines the boundaries of autonomy and benefit (...) for all participating family members. The physician may then serve as a facilitator in the relationship, working with all parties in resolving potential conflicts regarding genetic information. The family covenant promotes a fuller discussion of the competing ethical claims that may come to bear after genetic test results are received. (shrink)