LIFEalerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

USA – New state plan to decide life-saving treatment of overwhelmed hospitals

The NC Institute of Medicine, the NC Healthcare Association, and the NC Medical Society developed a hospital triage released a plan to help guide medical providers navigate ethical questions of who would get life-saving treatment when hospitals are overwhelmed by critically ill patients, and running out of equipment or space in a pandemic. The plan ranks patients based on how well their vital organs are functioning, as well as determinations of whether they would live long enough to leave the hospital if they got intensive medical care. The goal is to do the greatest good for the greatest number. This is different from the traditional focus of medical ethics, which is centered on promoting the well-being of individual patients.

In a webinar with reporters, one doctor said this was a dramatic shift in the thinking of physicians and the public’s expectations of medical staff during times of shortages. This is difficult for medical providers who take a professional oath to save individual lives whenever possible and this shift is uncomfortable for everyone involved. Some concerns that medical staff had about making decisions using patient health scores were about whether internal biases would creep in and whether all doctors’ medical assessments were reliable. More

USA – Physician coalition calls for ethical vaccines devoid of reliance on abortion derived fetal cell lines

The American College of Pediatricians, the American Association of Pro-life Ob-Gyns, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations et al, released a joint statement calling for the development of ethical vaccines devoid of any reliance upon abortion derived fetal cell lines. “Recent reports of the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which are both mRNA vaccines, are encouraging. Although it is true that the animal-phase testing for these vaccines used abortion-derived fetal cells, commendably, it does not appear that production methods utilized such cells.” The statement concluded that if COVID-19 vaccines are approved as safe and effective, then use of the least ethically problematic vaccine available in the prevention of disease and death can be justified. More

South Africa – SA suspends vaccine AstraZeneca immunization campaign

South Africa’s (SA) first immunisation campaign has been halted since the coronavirus vaccine, AstraZeneca, has been found to show less protection than elsewhere. The South African trial of the vaccine, conducted in about 2000 people, found such a low efficacy against mild and moderate disease, under 25%, that it fails to meet minimal international standards for emergency use. COVID-19 vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Novavax also offer weaker protection against the SA variant that causes the vast majority of all infections in South Africa. Shabir Madhi of the University of the Witwatersrand, the trial’s principal investigator, was still optimistic because the J&J and AstraZeneca still convincingly protected against severe disease and death. More

USA – Ultrasound treatment used to recover coma patients with severe brain injuries

In 2016, a team led by UCLA’s Martin Monti reported that a 25-year-old man recovering from a coma had made remarkable progress following treatment to jump-start his brain using ultrasound. In the journal Brain Stimulation, Monti and colleagues now report that two more patients with severe brain injuries have made impressive progress thanks to the same technique. Monti, a UCLA professor of psychology and neurosurgery considers this new result much more significant because these chronic patients were much less likely to recover spontaneously than the acute patient they treated in 2016. The scientists used a technique called low-intensity focused ultrasound, which uses sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the thalamus. The hope is to translate the technology into an inexpensive, portable device so the treatment could even be delivered at patients’ homes. More

LIFEalerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

USA – Vaccine manufacturer Merck shifts focus

Vaccine manufacturer Merck has abandoned development of two coronavirus vaccines, after extensive research concluded that the shots offered less protection than just contracting the virus itself and developing antibodies. The company announced that the shots were ‘well tolerated’ by test patients, but generated an ‘inferior’ immune system response in comparison with natural infection. Merck will instead focus on research into therapeutic drugs labelled as MK-7110 and MK-4482 which aim to protect patients from the damage of an overactive immune response to the virus. Interim results from a phase 3 study showed a greater than 50% reduction in risk of death or respiratory failure hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 using the MK-7110 drug. Merck is to receive around $356 million from the US government to fast-track production. More

USA – COVID-19 guidelines for Moderna and Pfizer vaccine administering

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new guidance on the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Pregnant women should not get vaccinated with Moderna unless they are at high risk of exposure like being a health worker. WHO director of immunisation Kate O’Brien said that clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine were still needed on pregnant women. The report also emphasised the need for facilities that treat allergic reactions to be readily available at vaccine administering sites with regards to Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Latest guidance from Public Health England states, “The early Covid-19 vaccines do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.” More

South Africa – Prisoners to get vaccinated first

Outrage is brewing over the government’s decision to vaccinate awaiting trial and sentenced prisoners before ordinary citizens, when vaccines for the coronavirus become available. The reason for this is believed to be due to confinement and overcrowding and therefore prisons are considered to be the prime sites for the virus. Phase one will mean that frontline workers such as healthcare workers will be vaccinated first, Phase two will vaccinate teachers, police, municipal workers and other front-line personnel. People with comorbidities and people over 60 years of age, institutions including old age homes, shelters and prisons will be prioritised. Phase three will then vaccinate the remaining adult population. Experts, including the World Health Organization said the reason why prisoners should be prioritised was that when they (prisoners) contract Covid-19, they can easily and immediately transmit the disease to their fellow prisoners and prison staff as well as healthcare workers who treat them. More

LIFEalerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

Australia – Surgeons to have patients’ psychiatric evaluation before cosmetic or otherwise surgeries

A paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia warns surgeons to be cautious about taking on a patient whose had numerous past procedures performed by a list of different practitioners, which they refer to as “inadequate”. Patients need to have their psychiatric history and state of mind assessed before cosmetic procedures are performed because certain psychiatric disorders – such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), depression or a psychotic diagnosis – can present with a heightened concern about the way in which the patient looks. The surgeon should clearly outline what is realistic, and what the risks and complications might be. A psychiatric evaluation would prevent instances of unrealistic expectation and unnecessary litigation. More

South Africa – Telemedicine was an expensive lesson for one woman who sought cosmetic surgery

The Health Professions Council of SA had previously banned all telemedicine consults, except for telephonic prescriptions, – but due to pressure and being in line with global trends of virtual consults – the council relaxed restrictions for the pandemic only. One woman with scoliosis who wanted cosmetic surgery from a Medical Spa in Sandton, had to pay R120 000 to secure her appointment without a physical consultation and without adequate consultation. After doing some research, Rania discovered that she was at heightened risk for things to go wrong and wanted a refund but was told there are no refunds and then ignored. It turns out that the same clinic was sued for trademark infringement. This should caution practitioners and patients/buyers to make full disclosures and first have a physical consultation before paying for procedures. More

Webinar: 2020 THC Webinar with CMDA on re-opening Churches amid COVID-19

Featured Video Play Icon

This 1-hour joint webinar of the Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA) and The Hendricks Center (THC) – Dallas Theological Seminary, discusses the topic of re-opening churches safely & effectively amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the science that it involves.

Vaccines, its safety, and the issue of using fetal cell lines in vaccines, is another topic covered in this webinar that will give an understanding on the topic. Finally, a Q&A session ensues between participants and speakers.

The two speakers are:

  1. Stephen Ko, Former Professor of the global health and Pediatrics at Boston University, Medical Officer for the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Pastor of Three Stone church in NY city, Also Adjunct faculty for Missions at the Alliance of theological Seminary.
  2. Dr Jeff Barrows, Senior Vice President of Bioethics & Public Policy concentrates on OB/GYN & has a master’s degree in Bioethics from the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (sister school to Dallas Theological Seminary). From CMDA.

The views expressed in this webinar reflects the views of Doctors For Life International.

LIFEalerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

California – A bill to Sterilize Children Awaits Governor’s signature

While California has been in lockdown the state legislature has been passing legislation that creates a fund to pay for children to be sterilized in the name of transgender ideology. A law creating this fund is not only unnecessary and irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars, promoting an agenda at their expense, but it makes it legal and possible for young people to receive treatments that could adversely affect their health for life—treatments many doctors oppose. Dr James Grisolia, a San Diego neurologist and California state director of the American Academy of Medical Ethics expressed his concern for the youth because the legislation states that funds will go to transgender organisations who will partner with medical clinics they choose, and mean that transgender organisations will be in the driver’s seat on the treatment of children. Read more

UK – International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing      

The National Academy of Medicine, of Engineering and of Sciences, The Royal Society and Heritable human genome editing -says “making changes to the genetic material of eggs, sperm, or any cells that lead to their development, including the cells of early embryos, and establishing a pregnancy – raises not only scientific and medical considerations but also a host of ethical, moral, and societal issues. Human embryos whose genomes have been edited should not be used to create a pregnancy until it is established that precise genomic changes can be made reliably and without introducing undesired changes – criteria that have not yet been met. Read more

LifeAlerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

USA – Last research program to use human tissue from abortions

The Trump administration has declined to renew a contract that funded a research program using fetal tissue obtained from abortions. The research program involved the use of bone marrow, thymuses, and livers from aborted babies which were used to create mice with human-like immune systems. The “humanized mice” were then used for testing and experimentation. An official statement from the Trump administration said that the cancelled contract was further evidence that President Trump was pursuing pro-life goals throughout his presidency. In a release to media, Smith called the practice of using aborted remains “unethical” and “ineffective,” claiming that it has not produced “a single clinical treatment.” Read more

Global Research Review of Comprehensive Sex-Education (CSE)

Re-Examining the Evidence for School-Based Comprehensive Sex Education: A Global Research Review

Link to Original Article: The Institute for Research and Evaluation

Irene H. Ericksen, M.S.* and Stan E. Weed, Ph.D.**

ABSTRACT

Purpose. To evaluate the global research on school-based comprehensive sex education (CSE) by applying rigorous and meaningful criteria to outcomes of credible studies in order to identify evidence of real program effectiveness.

Methods. The Researchers examined 120 studies of school-based sex education contained in the reviews of research sponsored by three authoritative agencies: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the U.S. federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their reviews screened more than 600 studies and accepted only those that reached a threshold of adequate scientific rigor. These included 60 U.S. studies and 43 non-U.S. studies of school-based CSE plus 17 U.S. studies of school-based abstinence education (AE). The Researchers evaluated these studies for evidence of effectiveness using criteria grounded in the science of prevention research: sustained positive impact (at least 12 months post-program), on a key protective indicator (abstinence, condom use—especially consistent use, pregnancy, or STDs), for the main (targeted) teenage population, and without negative/harmful program effects.

Results. Worldwide, six out of 103 school-based CSE studies (U.S. and non-U.S. combined) showed main effects on a key protective indicator, sustained at least 12 months post-program, excluding programs that also had negative effects. Sixteen studies found harmful CSE impacts. Looking just at the U.S., of the 60 school-based CSE studies, three found sustained main effects on a key protective indicator (excluding programs with negative effects) and seven studies found harmful impact. For the 17 AE studies in the U.S., seven showed sustained protective main effects and one study showed harmful effects.

Conclusions. Some of the strongest, most current school-based CSE studies worldwide show very little evidence of real program effectiveness. In the U.S., the evidence, though limited, appeared somewhat better for abstinence education.

* Senior Research Analyst, The Institute for Research & Evaluation, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.
** Founder & Director, The Institute for Research & Evaluation, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.

Click HERE for a PDF file of the study, available for FREE download and distribution.

Short Videos on the Study Findings

https://vimeo.com/337241706
https://vimeo.com/337243836
https://vimeo.com/337244684
https://vimeo.com/337243313

Graphic Summary of the Study Findings

Costa Rica – Organ trafficking exposed

Costa Rican police have arrested a doctor for organ trafficking. Dr Francisco Jose Mora, a prominent nephrologist, is allegedly the key figure in a large-scale transnational racket, linked to Israel and Eastern Europe. According to the Mexican newspaper El Universal, two Israelis had paid a Costa Rican and a Nicaraguan US$6,000 to obtain two kidneys that were transplanted in a Costa Rican private clinic. The newspaper reported that a woman donor had died on her way back from Israel after a transplant. The arrests shines a light on the dark side of the Costa Rica’s booming medical tourism industry which it is known for world wide. Transplant tourism is an elegant disguise for what is really the illicit trafficking of organs. http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10567]]>

Stem Cells and Cloning

stemcloneCloning is a method of reproduction used to copy a cell or an individual from their nuclear DNA. Except when there are errors or mutations during copying, a clone is, to a large extent, genetically identical to the original: it has the same DNA. In April 2003, South Africa’s first cloned animal, a calf, was born. Scientists from South Africa collaborated with scientists from Denmark to make the event possible. At present, the survival rate of cloned animals is lower than their normal counterparts, but the technology is improving. The prevailing ethical questions concerning cloning are: does man have the right to use scientific technology to create life? And what right does a human have to clone another human?

Morally we oppose human cloning

At Doctors for Life (DFL), we believe that human life is sacred. Each individual is made by God in His image preferably by the union of genetic material from a husband and wife. We believe that the family is the basic social unit designed by God to receive and nurture new human life. Morally, we oppose human cloning. First and foremost, the development of this technology will require the deliberate sacrifice of human embryos, a deliberate act of murder of a human life that began at conception. Any cell in that embryo contains all of the information needed for a complete human life. Additionally, we believe that God’s endows an eternal soul in each life that He creates. Furthermore, cloning may deviate from the wisdom of God’s design for human genetic diversity. Scientifically, we oppose human cloning based on the potential for additive mutations, transmission of mitochondrial diseases, and negative effects from ageing genetic material. From society’s viewpoint, we oppose human cloning based upon the issues of parentage, lineage, family structure and the uniqueness of the individual. We affirm the need for continued medical, scientific and moral scrutiny as research on animal cloning proceeds and proposals for the application of this technology to humans are advanced. We at DFL believe that only God can and should create life. It is our opinion that the practice of cloning is man’s attempt to play God. Creating artificial life interferes with God’s divine plan for creation. DFL opposes all forms of cloning and will continue to work through legal and governmental channels to bring it to an end.]]>

Medical Ethics

stemcells-1024x682The traditional family unit based on a heterosexual marriage forms the building block upon which the overall structure of a successful society is derived. Consequently, sexual reproduction is not just a physical act, but one with consequences with immense power to exert an effect on every aspect of society. Technologies that are used to assist the process of reproduction need to have a solid moral foundation and framework with clearly defined limitations on the techniques employed. The goal of the moral framework employed should be based on the preservation of the family unit. Based on these points, the fusion of the egg with the sperm for the purposes of reproduction should be limited to married couples. This will ensure that the resulting embryo maintains its biological and social integrity as part of its family unit. A lack of an ethical framework for the use of reproductive technologies such as egg and sperm donations causes arbitrary use leading inevitably to abuse. For example, fertility clinics in Cape Town are currently running advertisements for couples in the US and the UK to come to South Africa for inexpensive fertility services. The adverts promise multiracial egg donations as part of a “vacation package” which includes sight seeing at the popular holiday destination. Young local students are offered money in exchange for donations of their eggs. In addition to undergoing extensive medical procedures, the donors help produce children with whom they will have no emotional or familial ties. At the end of the day, the victims are the defenseless children. Furthermore, this type of abuse as well as other irresponsible uses lacking the necessary ethical framework only serve to cause an irreversible damage to the produced child, the traditional family unit and hence all of society eventually. The only way to ensure that this useful technology is used for the greater good of society is to protect the boundaries within which it is applied and ensure the preservation of the traditional family unit by limiting the fusion of the egg and the sperm to that of married couples only.]]>