By James F. Drane
After World War II, the U.S. government invested an enormous amount of money in medicine; medical research, medical procedures and medical technologies. This investment made contemporary scientific medicine into American medicine, characterized by a continuing flow of new treatment possibilities.
These advances raised all kinds of ethical questions. Some were personal and individual, others were social and political. Both type questions are addressed by a new academic discipline called bioethics.
The first attempt to develop a scientific medicine took place in Greece in the 5th century B.C. It was called Hippocratic medicine. Closely linked with this first scientific medicine was a refined medical ethics which spelled out how medicine should be practiced. Today’s scientific medicine is radically different and raises new ethical questions addressed by bioethics, the new medical ethics. Some of the older ethical issues remain, like the limits imposed by human finitude, the need to stop treatments that are futile, the fear of death and dying, the need for healers to be committed to help others rather than to promote their own interests. The new bioethics reaches into law, politics, philosophy, religion, literature and science. It reaches into individual life, social life and the popular media. The issues that it addresses in one form or another literally reach everyone.
The Nancy Schiavo case provides a good example of how many different interests can come together around a particular medical case. Nancy had suffered a stroke which left her without consciousness, with only vegetative functions, and maintained by new technologies. Involved in trying to decide what to do there were individual interests, family concerns, issues of medical futility, political differences, and on and on. As this one case shows, there is an enormous public interest in the many different questions raised by contemporary medicine. Judges became involved, politicians intervened, groups organized around different perspectives, religious authorities made official declarations, and the struggle among the different interests was often uncivil, indeed violent.
By James F. Drane
It’s hard to believe park will turn things around until secrecy ends
Even if a deal is struck to save Conneaut Lake Park from a pending sale to pay off back taxes, it appears unlikely that the park will succeed unless its new managers pledge themselves to transparency and public accountability.
Public pensions for private lobbyists under fire
Employees of the Pennsylvania School Board Association don’t work for any of the state’s 500 local school districts — not directly, anyway. They lobby lawmakers on behalf of those districts for things like funding.
Many veterans suffer PTSD, which needs to be dealt with
Initially, I intended this article to be about PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” I wanted to write about the myths and misconceptions that those four words may hold. But as the days went by, the story just wouldn’t come together for me. Everything I typed seemed to miss something. There was no feeling.
Journalists in combat zones ‘write with light’ while risking their lives
I first heard the news on National Public Radio on my car radio. On April 4, the day before elections in Afghanistan, an Afghan military officer walked up to a car in a convoy and opened fire. Anja Niedringhaus, a staff photographer for The Associated Press, died instantly.
There’s no war on men and boys — it’s quite the opposite
Two weeks ago, Paul Dici submitted an column titled “It’s time to fight against the war on men and boys” (March 28). Mr. Dici would have us believe that men and boys are being “wussified” by a progressive agenda that may jeopardize our national security. Also, he makes the point that men and boys are not given the same advantages (programs) as women and girls.
McCord outsourcing ‘scandal’ reminds me of Y2K fears
With only seven weeks to go until the May primary election, the campaigns are expected to get a lot hotter and more negative.
Can we trust luck when it comes to the nuclear industry?
Let’s review the history to better understand a major concern of today.
Aging — is it a disease to be cured?
If you are already old, get ready for what comes next. If you are not old yet but on the way, it is not too early to start thinking about aging and dying, because both are part of being human.
Local high school students help keep future of journalism bright
Significant technological and economic changes have caused some to question the future of journalism, both as a viable business enterprise and as a potential career. But if the proceedings of the eighth annual Northwest Pennsylvania High School Journalism Day are any indication, journalism is alive and well, especially in Crawford County.
Reps want to hang ‘English only’ sign at the Capitol
Pennsylvania, it turns out, is one of 19 states that have failed to address the menace that is non-English. Or maybe it’s un-English? Or dis-English? There must be a word for it.
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