Jehovah's Witnesses' refusal of blood: obedience to scripture and religious conscience.
Jehovah's Witnesses are students of the Bible. They refuse transfusions out of obedience to the scriptural directive to abstain and keep from blood. Dr Muramoto disagrees with the Witnesses' religious beliefs in this regard. Despite this basic disagreement over the meaning of Biblical texts, Muramoto flouts the religious basis for the Witnesses' position. His proposed policy change about accepting transfusions in private not only conflicts with the Witnesses' fundamental beliefs but it promotes hypocrisy. In addition, Muramoto's arguments about pressure to conform and coerced disclosure of private information misrepresent the beliefs and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses and ignore the element of individual conscience. In short, Muramoto resorts to distortion and uncorroborated assertions in his effort to portray a matter of religious faith as a matter of medical ethical debate. (+info)
Informed consent for emergency contraception: variability in hospital care of rape victims.
There is growing concern that rape victims are not provided with emergency contraceptives in many hospital emergency rooms, particularly in Catholic hospitals. In a small pilot study, we examined policies and practices relating to providing information, prescriptions, and pregnancy prophylaxis in emergency rooms. We held structured telephone interviews with emergency department personnel in 58 large urban hospitals, including 28 Catholic hospitals, from across the United States. Our results showed that some Catholic hospitals have policies that prohibit the discussion of emergency contraceptives with rape victims, and in some of these hospitals, a victim would learn about the treatment only by asking. Such policies and practices are contrary to Catholic teaching. More seriously, they undermine a victim's right to information about her treatment options and jeopardize physicians' fiduciary responsibility to act in their patients' best interests. We suggest that institutions must reevaluate their restrictive policies. If they fail to do so, we believe that state legislation requiring hospitals to meet the standard of care for treatment of rape victims is appropriate. (+info)
Medical paternalism and the fetus.
A number of developments in the medical field have changed the debate about the ethics of abortion. These developments include: advances in fetal physiology, the increase in neonatal intensive care and the survival rates of premature infants. This paper discusses the idea of selective termination and the effects that these decisions have on disabled people of today. It presents a critique of the counselling services that are provided for the parents of a disabled fetus and discusses how this is viewed from a social perspective. The article ends with an argument that the mother deserves to be autonomous in the decision of abortion. The easiest and most fair way to develop her autonomy is to consider the relationship between a professional and a mother as an expert-expert relationship. Here both parties are considered experts in diagnostic information, treatment options, possibilities, and their history, family roots, philosophy and way of life, respectively. (+info)
The place for individual conscience.
From a liberationist, feminist, and Catholic point of view, this article attempts to understand the decision of abortion. People are constantly testing their principles and values against the question of abortion. Advances in technology, the rise of communitarianism and the rejection of individualism, and the commodification of children are factors in the way in which the abortion debate is being constructed in society. The paper offers solutions to end the ugliness of the abortion debate by suggesting that we would be able to progress further on the issue of abortion if we looked for the good in the opposing viewpoint. The article continues with a discussion of Catholics For a Free Choice's position on abortion, and notes firstly that there is no firm position within the Catholic Church on when the fetus becomes a person; secondly that the principle of probablism in Roman Catholicism holds that where the church cannot speak definitively on a matter of fact (in this case, on the personhood of the fetus), the consciences of individual Catholics must be primary and respected, and thirdly that the absolute prohibition on abortion by the church is not infallible. In conclusion, only the woman herself can make the abortion decision. (+info)
Artificial feeding for severely disoriented, elderly patients.
The issue of artificial feeding for patients with dementia who refuse feeding by hand is a wrenching emotional problem that can cloud clinical judgement. It is helpful to apply an analytic approach to decision making. There are five steps: gathering a comprehensive clinical database; defining the goal of treatment; knowing the treatment options available, their burdens and potential benefits; understanding the law; and defining the moral framework in which care is being given. Such an approach can be used to formulate a plan of treatment in the best interests of incompetent elderly patients who cannot speak for themselves. (+info)
The contribution of embarrassment to phobic dental anxiety: a qualitative research study.
BACKGROUND: Embarrassment is emphasized, yet scantily described as a factor in extreme dental anxiety or phobia. Present study aimed to describe details of social aspects of anxiety in dental situations, especially focusing on embarrassment phenomena. METHODS: Subjects (Ss) were consecutive specialist clinic patients, 16 men, 14 women, 20-65 yr, who avoided treatment mean 12.7 yr due to anxiety. Electronic patient records and transcribed initial assessment and exit interviews were analyzed using QSR"N4" software to aid in exploring contexts related to social aspects of dental anxiety and embarrassment phenomena. Qualitative findings were co-validated with tests of association between embarrassment intensity ratings, years of treatment avoidance, and mouth-hiding behavioral ratings. RESULTS: Embarrassment was a complaint in all but three cases. Chief complaints in the sample: 30% had fear of pain; 47% cited powerlessness in relation to dental social situations, some specific to embarrassment and 23% named co-morbid psychosocial dysfunction due to effects of sexual abuse, general anxiety, gagging, fainting or panic attacks. Intense embarrassment was manifested in both clinical and non-clinical situations due to poor dental status or perceived neglect, often (n = 9) with fear of negative social evaluation as chief complaint. These nine cases were qualitatively different from other cases with chief complaints of social powerlessness associated with conditioned distrust of dentists and their negative behaviors. The majority of embarrassed Ss to some degree inhibited smiling/laughing by hiding with lips, hands or changed head position. Secrecy, taboo-thinking, and mouth-hiding were associated with intense embarrassment. Especially after many years of avoidance, embarrassment phenomena lead to feelings of self-punishment, poor self-image/esteem and in some cases personality changes in a vicious circle of anxiety and avoidance. Embarrassment intensity ratings were positively correlated with years of avoidance and degree of mouth-hiding behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Embarrassment is a complex dental anxiety manifestation with qualitative differences by complaint characteristics and perceived intensity. Some cases exhibited manifestations similar to psychiatric criteria for social anxiety disorder as chief complaint, while most manifested embarrassment as a side effect. (+info)
Aaron O. Wells, MD and the Medical Committee for Human Rights: reflections on a life of conscience.
The southern civil rights movement compelled Dr. Aaron Wells and other doctors to find ways to use their skills in support of that movement. Through the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), healthcare workers provided a medical presence for civil rights protesters in the south during the 1960s. Formed at a time when racial segregation in professional medical associations, hospitals, and medical education was common, the MCHR also highlighted race-based inequities in American medicine. Dr. Wells, a man who lives a life of activism, was the first national president of the MCHR. During the summer of 2002, nearly 40 years after the founding of MCHR, Wells was interviewed about his experiences. Those reminiscences are the basis of this article. (+info)