Leading Issues in Bioethics, Public Policy, and the Law
Introduction to Bioethics: Course overview, schedule and methodology; class participation requirements (reporting of developments and discoveries, discussion, oral presentations); methods of legal and ethical analysis; guidelines for written exercises; briefing cases; sources of information about bioethics; case studies for ethical and legal analysis; history of bioethics; origins of ethical theory; relationship of bioethics to law, culture, philosophy and literature; multi-disciplinary nature of field; limitations of law and ethics; four principles approach versus contextual approach to ethical analysis.
Reading Material: Steinbock, Arras & London, eds., Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine, Sixth Edition: "Introduction: Moral Reasoning in the Medical Context," pp 1 - 41; Understanding Bioethics, chapter 1, Introduction.
The Physician-patient relationship I: Foundations of the physician-patient relationship; historical perspective; exploring respect for persons and legal autonomy; the four models of the physician-patient relationship; disclosure and informed consent; Hippocratic oath; beneficence, non-maleficence, and informed consent; methodology of making clinical ethical decisions.
Writing Assignment for Class 2: Response to the reading #1
The Physician-patient relationship II: conflicting professional roles and responsibilities; liability of physicians; ethics in the health care bureaucracy; confidentiality; distributive justice considerations; allocating resources; health care policy.
Writing Assignment for Class 3: Response to the reading #2
Human research, experimentation and clinical trials I: historical views of human experimentation; the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and its aftermath; research abuses on vulnerable groups; the Belmont Report; Nuremberg Code; federal regulation and the role of institutional review boards; clinical trials.
Writing Assignment for Class 4: Response to the reading #3
Human research, experimentation and clinical trials II: current status of clinical trials including malpractice liability of researchers; Belmont 25 years later; the crisis in human research; current role of pharmaceutical companies; conflicts of interest; recent regulatory developments.
Reading Material: cases and materials to be assigned.
Writing Assignment for Class 5: Response to the reading #4
Law and Medicine at the end of life I: the right to refuse care and treatment; a good death, Dax's case; care of the dying; determining medical futility; truth-telling; clinical case management; defining death.
Writing assignment for Class 6: Optional Response to the reading #5
Law and Medicine at the end of life II: The historical context of medical futility situations – Quinlan, Cruzan, et al; competency and disability; analysis of and reflections on the Terri Schiavo case; cases following Schiavo; the legal and ethical implications.
Writing Assignment for Class 7: Topic and Abstract [one paragraph minimum] of essay
Reproduction and Birth Issues I: abortion, the maternal-fetal conflict, status of the pre-embryo, fundamentals of medicine, law and ethics in this field, parental rights and obligations.
Writing Assignment for Class 8: Outline of essay
Reproductive issues II: Human Cloning and Stem Cell Research: current status and implications of stem cell research; choosing our children, cloning and the "new genetics", assisted reproduction, genetic engineering, ownership of life issues, multiple parenthood, sperm and egg donation, disputes involving frozen embryos; controversies concerning multiple births.
Writing Assignment for Class 9: work on essay
Introduction to Neuroethics I: Current ethical issues in the field of neuroscience and brain scanning technology.
Reading Material: to be assigned.
Assignment for Class 10: Oral presentations of essays
Writing Assignment for Class 10: First draft of paper due for comments
Neuroethics II: Impact on the courts; special problems in neuroscience and the law.
Reading: to be assigned.Assignment for Class 11: Oral presentations of essays
Justice in Society: current controversies in organ donation and allocation; defining brain death; medical research; ownership and commodification issues regarding the human body; allocating scarce medical resources; market approaches to increasing the supply of organs and sales of reproductive materials; discussion and analysis of problems and issues in distributive justice in society as identified throughout the course.