From reproduction to the right to die: bioethics now - Tue 13 Aug 13:30 GMT

Eric J. Topol weighs up a book on a field sprinting to keep up with biotechnology.

  Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die: Bioethics and the Transformation of Health Care in America Amy Gutmann & Jonathan D. Moreno Liveright (2019) The term ‘bioethics’ was coined in 1926, yet the field itself did not emerge until the 1970s.

  Amy Gutmann and Jonathan Moreno have long been at the heart of bioethics debates, and served together for seven years on Barack Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

  To begin, Gutmann and Moreno each recount a personal flashback to an older era of ethically problematic medical care.

  Gutmann’s grandmother and Moreno’s mother underwent medical amputations; neither had been given crucial information by her doctors, so both were uninformed at the time of crucial therapeutic decisions.

  Brain in a dish, babies by design: what it means to be human Many of the stops along the way delve into familiar territory — required reading for clinical researchers, and the basis of annual online-testing requirements for conducting clinical research.

  For instance, they declare that health care is a human right, and they believe that people should have the freedom to access safe and legal abortions.

  As I noted in my 2014 book, The Patient Will See You Now, some 66% of US doctors will not give patients their office notes, and almost all order routine medical scans without telling the recipient how much exposure to ionizing radiation the tests entail.