Freedom of conscience in health care: “an interesting moral swamp”?

Responding to Caplan AL. Whose rights come first: Doctors or patients? Medscape, 5 November, 2019

Sean Murphy*

“Whose rights come first?” asks Professor Arthur Caplan in a recent Medscape column. “Doctors’ or patients?”

“You can’t have physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and social workers saying they are not going to do legally allowed medicine or standard-of-care treatment because it violates their rights,” says Professor Caplan. He does suggest that refusal can be allowed if the objector can find a substitute “and it doesn’t disrupt the ER or the organization of healthcare delivery.” . . . Full text

Whose Rights Come First: Doctors’ or Patients’?

Medscape

Arthur L. Caplan

Hi. I’m Art Caplan. I’m at the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU School of Medicine. Conscientious objection—everybody seems to be talking about it these days. What are the rights of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, or other healthcare workers to say that something may be legal but they refuse to do it?

This issue has come up particularly as more and more health systems are merging. You see Catholic hospitals merging with secular hospitals. Catholic hospitals have a huge presence in the American world of hospitals and nursing homes, probably accounting for 40% of all facilities. When mergers take place, whose values predominate? . . [Full text]

(Project response: Freedom of conscience in healthcare: “an interesting moral swamp?”)

Facilitating an unethical practice is unethical

Psychiatric Times

Madelyn Hisaio-Rei Hicks*

I am an adult psychiatrist who has worked in public sector psychiatry in the US and the UK. In both countries, physicians struggle with the ethics and professional meaning of legalized or proposed physician-assisted suicide (PAS). I was recently asked by an organization to host a CME course titled “Best Practices in the End-of-Life Options Act.” Passed in 2016, the Act legalized the practice of PAS in California.

My response to the invitation

Thank you very much for your invitation to join in providing a CME about “Best Practices in the End-of-Life Options Act.”the very serious and complex ethical and legal issue of PAS.

At one point in my 14 years of examining and writing about PAS and euthanasia, I thought that, even though I found PAS to be unethical, in situations where it became legal, perhaps the best that psychiatrists and other physicians could do would be to provide thorough assessments and treatment options for individuals requesting PAS. . . [Full text]

Is it ethical for deaf parents to choose to have deaf children?

BioEdge

Michael Cook*

. . . There is a growing body of literature to support the right of deaf parents to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select for deaf children. Jacqueline Mae Wallis, a philosopher at the University of Bristol (UK), contends in the journal Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy that this is morally permissible. . . [Full text]

Medical conscience for me, but not for thee

Promoting a one-way conscience right favouring the medical intelligentsia

National Review

Wesley J. Smith*

Medical conscience for me, but not for theeThe New York Times has published an opinion column by cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar that decries the Trump administration’s increased enforcement of medical conscience. But he actually promotes a one-way conscience right that favors protecting the predominate ideological views of the medical intelligentsia, while forcing dissenters to sacrifice their own religious and moral beliefs. . . [Full text]