A decade ago, we reviewed the field of clinical ethics; assessed its progress in research, education, and ethics committees and consultation; and made predictions about the future of the field. In this article, we revisit clinical ethics to examine our earlier observations, highlight key developments, and discuss remaining challenges for clinical ethics, including the need to develop a global perspective on clinical ethics problems.
For more than 20 years, Deidre McCloskey has campaigned to convince the economics profession that it is hopelessly confused about statistical significance. She argues that many practices associated with significance testing are bad science and that most economists routinely employ these bad practices: ?Though to a child they look like science, with all that really hard math, no science is being done in these and 96 percent of the best empirical economics ?? (McCloskey 1999). McCloskey's charges are analyzed and rejected. (...) That statistical significance is not economic significance is a jejune and uncontroversial claim, and there is no convincing evidence that economists systematically mistake the two. Other elements of McCloskey's analysis of statistical significance are shown to be ill?founded, and her criticisms of practices of economists are found to be based in inaccurate readings and tendentious interpretations of those economists' work. Properly used, significance tests are a valuable tool for assessing signal strength, for assisting in model specification, and for determining causal structure. (shrink)
Siegler identifies the elderly as a population vulnerable to discrimination as society seeks to contain health care costs by rationing medical care. Traditional decision making by physicians and patients, which is based upon medical indications and the wishes of the patient, may yield to decision making based upon institutional and social expediency and economic concerns. Siegler predicts that as a consequence of cost containment measures, certain groups of patients, of whom the elderly constitute a large percentage, will find their access (...) to medical care limited, and the extent of that care reduced. He suggests that this threat to the elderly can be counteracted by retaining the traditional physician patient relationship, by basing care decisions upon clinical criteria, and by beginnning rationing with those groups of patients best able to defend themselves. (shrink)
Liver transplantation is the treatment of choice for many forms of liver disease. Unfortunately, the scarcity of cadaveric donor livers limits the availability of this technique. To improve the availability of liver transplantation, surgeons have developed the capability of removing a portion of liver from a live donor and transplanting it into a recipient. A few liver transplants using living donors have been performed worldwide.Our purpose was to analyze the ethics of liver transplants using living donors and to propose guidelines (...) for the procedure before it was introduced in the United States. We used a process of research ethics consultation that involves a collaboration between clinical investigators and clinical ethicists. We concluded that it was ethically appropriate to perform liver transplantation using living donors in a small series of patients on a trial basis, and we published our ethical guidelines in a medical journal before the procedure was introduced. We recommend this prospective, public approach for the introduction of other innovative therapies in medicine and surgery. (shrink)
Novel cellular therapy techniques promise to cure many haematology patients refractory to other treatment modalities. These therapies are intensive and require referral to and care from specialised providers. In the USA, this pool of providers is not expanding at a rate necessary to meet expected demand; therefore, access scarcity appears forthcoming and is likely to be widespread. To maintain fair access to these scarce and curative therapies, we must prospectively create a just and practical system to distribute care. In this (...) article, we first review previously implemented medical product and personnel allocation systems, examining their applicability to cellular therapy provider shortages to demonstrate that this problem requires a novel approach. We then present an innovative system for allocating cellular therapy access, which accounts for the constraints of distribution during real-world oncology practice by using a combination of the following principles: maximising life-years per personnel time, youngest and robust first, sickest first, first come/first served and instrumental value. We conclude with justifications for the incorporation of these principles and the omission of others, discuss how access can be distributed using this combination, consider cost and review fundamental factors necessary for the practical implementation and maintenance of this system. (shrink)