From an ethical point of view, can the cost of a treatment figure into medical decision making? Does this put a dollar figure on the value of human life? Center Bioethics Director Margaret R. McLean leads a discussion with the Center's Emerging Issues group about whether, as individuals or as a society, we can take into account the financial burdens of medical care when we decide decide to accept or forego treatment.
SCU students are invited to apply for the Ethics Center's Health Care Ethics Internship Program, a yearlong program that brings the students into hospital and hospice settings where they learn firsthand about ethical dilemmas in the medical field.
How should we relate to unearthly environments and new life forms? Center Bioethics Director Margaret R. McLean takes on that question in a point-counterpoint format on "Life as We Don't Know It" in the most recent edition of Consider Magazine.
She offers these guidelines for exercising cosmic concern:
1. Cosmos preservation insists that we value other worlds and life forms for their own sake, apart from our curiosity, interest, or profit.
2. Cosmos conservation mandates care for the universe’s resources, environments, and life forms, including consideration of our impact on extraterrestrial life and evolution.
3. Cosmos sustainability cautions us to refrain from irreversible harm, raising the question of what would constitute “harm” to Mars and other celestial bodies and to life as we don’t know it. At a minimum, we must guard against “forward contamination,” the introduction of terrestrial microbes to other worlds, and “backward contamination,” bringing extraterrestrial microbes back home.
4. Cosmos stewardship holds us accountable for our actions, compelling us to consider how our actions affect others—both human and not— including how we affect our vast surroundings and the future. From research in subatomic space, we have learned that mere observation can change the characteristics of what is observed. Are we obligated to leave certain areas of the cosmos unseen, uninvestigated, or untouched by human hands or rover probes?
5. Respect for the extraterrestrial other invites a deep concern for the intrinsic value of the cosmos and the life within it, not only “charismatic fauna” such as extraterrestrial life but also microbes and non–carbon-based life.
What if you could tweak your telomeres -- the tips of your chromosomes -- and slow the onset of disease and advancing age?
The ethical and social significance of telomeres will be the subject of a panel discussion Jan. 12, at noon, in the Arts & Sciences Building on the Santa Clara University campus. Panelists will be:
-- Professor Leilani Miller, SCU Biology
-- Professor Lawrence Nelson, SCU Philosophy
-- Professor Frederick Parrella, SCU Religious Studies
Co-sponsored by the SCU Center for Science, Technology, and Society and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. This event is being held in association with SCU's Health and Science Horizons and the DeNardo Lectureship, which this year will feature Elizabeth Blackburn.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent and contagious skin infection, presents problems for high school and college athletics departments. Not only must they institute prevention and management programs to deal with the medical problem, but they must also handle the ethical issues raised by the disease.
"Is This a Spider Bite?" is a case study of a fictional college program that must cope with a MRSA outbreak. Written by Sports Ethics Fellow Jack Penner, the case draws on a conference, "Thinking Ethically About MRSA," that was held at the Center in October. The fellowship and conference were supported by Denise and John York and the 49ers Foundation.
From personalized medicine and race to the creation of super-babies through germ-line enhancement, SCU biology students raised some of the most pressing issues in biotech ethics at a poster session today on the Santa Clara campus.
Faculty and students made the rounds of posters, where research groups talked through their findings on topics such as savior siblings (where a child is conceived in order to be a potential bone marrow or cord blood donor for a sick brother or sister); new ethical quandaries raised by induced pluripotent stem cells; and preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
Sponsored by the Ethics Center and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, the poster session is the culminating project for an interdisciplinary class taught by Biology Professor Leilani Miller and Center Bioethics Director Margaret R. McLean.
When scientists learned how to turn back the clock in a young skin cell, to bring it back to an early-stage cell that could become any other type in the body, both they and ethicists rejoiced. These induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells) might eliminate some of the ethical dilemmas posed by the use of embryonic stem cells because they do not require the destruction of human embryos. But the new technology is, in fact, creating new ethical quandaries.
Sally Lehrman,Knight Ridder San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair in Journalism and the Public Interest at Santa Clara University, outlines the issues and invites response.
Head Team Physician for the San Francisco 49ers Daniel Garza talks about Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a virulent skin infection that can be spread in locker rooms and playing fields. In conversation with Ethics Center Executive-in-Residence Jim Balassone, Garza reflects on the illness and ethical approaches to managing it for athletic organizations.
The Ethics Center joins the San Francisco 49ers Foundation in sponsoring a conference this Thursday on MRSA, a virulent skin infection that is a particular danger for athletes because it is spread by skin-to-skin or skin-to-equipment contact.
Ethical best practices will the the focus of the conference, which will also include information on the medical aspects of the illness.
The conference is intended for high school and college coaches, trainers, and athletic directors. It will feature physicians and trainers from the 49ers, SCU, San Jose State, and UC-Berkeley.
"Stem cells from adult skin are as morally fraught as embryonic stem cells," argues Center Fellow Sally Lehrman in a recent article for Scientific American. Besides "futuristic-sounding possibilities such as creating gametes for reproduction," Lehrman explores the rights of tissue donors.
Lehrman is the Knight Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair for Journalism in the Public Interest at Santa Clara University.