Tag: adult children

Bioethics Blogs

The Limits of Choice: Abortion and Assisted Dying

Michelle Oberman compares abortion and assisted dying and argues that focusing on the ‘right to choose’ risks ignoring the social and economic factors that shape and constrain our choices.

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I’ve watched the trend toward legalizing physician assistance in dying with a vague sense of alarm. My peers, healthy and wealthy, are puzzled by my response. How is this different from abortion, they ask? You’re pro-choice on abortion, so why wouldn’t you be for assisted dying?

Here’s my problem: As much as I support reproductive rights, I am weary of the rhetoric of ‘choice’ as it applies to great swaths of women who have abortions. I’ve spent the past six years studying abortion in the United States, and in countries like El Salvador where abortion is completely banned. The more I’ve learned about why many women have abortions, the less I see abortion as a choice. Abortion is often a coerced response to desperate circumstances.

When we focus on the question of choice – framing the issue as one of individual liberty – we ignore entirely the social and economic factors that shape and constrain choice. Such constraints lead many women to undergo abortions they might otherwise deeply prefer to avoid. The most common reason that women give for seeking an abortion is financial. It is expensive to have a baby, to pay for day care, to feed, clothe, and house a child. For marginally-employed women, having a baby necessarily means plunging themselves and their families deeper into poverty.

We’ve spent decades fighting over abortion, yet we have done little to offset the economic pressures that compel some women to have one.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Casey Kasem Lawsuit re Homicidal Guardianship Scam”

Last week, the widow of radio and TV personality Casey Kasem filed a personal injury lawsuit against her late husband’s three adult children from a prior relationship, accusing them of participating in a “homicidal guardianship scam” that she says directly led to his death.


Jean Kasem alleges that the children rendered control of Casey Kasem’s medical care against a judge’s order, chemically restrained him and ordered hospital staff to withdraw food and water, killing him on June 15, 2014. The alleged motive was to gain control of Casey and Jean Kasem’s joint assets.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Good Death, or Assisted Suicide?

The Case of Mr. Perry and his Pacemaker

Tarris Rosell, PhD, DMin
Rosemary Flanigan Chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics

NOTE: Dr. Rosell, a bioethics consultant and educator, will present the case of Mr. Perry for ethics discussion and likely debate on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the artfully rebuilt Westport Presbyterian Church, 201 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO. Bring your perspectives, arguments, and personal stories of moral medical dilemma. Admission is free. All are invited and welcome.

Mr. Perry (not his real name) was 83 years old and had several medical problems. He had spent the past several months in and out of hospitals and rehab. Prior to that, he lived independently in a small Midwestern town. Widowed many years ago, he subsequently enjoyed the company of a lovely lady friend who lived down the street from the Perry home. He had five adult children and numerous grandchildren.

Life should have been relatively good for this octogenarian. But life was not good. Not anymore. “My body is all worn out. I’m worn out. Don’t want to do this anymore, Doc. They say I can’t go home and be safe. And I’m NOT going to a nursing home. No way! Just stop that little gadget that shocks me and the part that keeps my heart going. I want them stopped. Yes, the pacemaker, too. A magnet will stop it, right? Just do it. Please.”

Tired of Fighting

Mr. Perry had a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) implanted a few years ago. It included an electrical pacing component for heart rhythms, on which the patient was 100% dependent.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Parramatta enters the bioethics debate

Parramatta is just 20 minutes west of the BioEdge office. It’s not a city which has made a huge mark on the world, although not long ago an ISIS-inspired teenager shot dead a police employee and ended up dead himself. It has a lot of historic buildings from the colonial era, surrounded by high rise office buildings, drab shops and a huge park.

A few weeks ago the park hosted Tropfest, billed as the world’s largest short film festival. The crowds watched the films on huge screens as they picnicked on the grass. I was amazed that the winner was a 7-minute film about euthanasia, “The Mother Situation”. With excellent acting and snappy dialogue, it is a brilliant black comedy. Three adult children are delighted to hear that their mother wants to be euthanised – but then she changes her mind.

The director, Matt Day, says that it is not an anti-euthanasia film, but I haven’t seen anything which illustrates more vividly the danger of elder abuse. Sure, it’s absurd and a bit unrealistic but it sends a powerful message. Check it out

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

A New Edition of The Journal of Human Resources Is Now Available

February 24, 2017

The Journal of Human Resources (vol. 52, no. 1, 2017) is available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Does Price Framing Affect the Consumer Price Sensitivity of Health Plan Choice?” by Hendrik Schmitz and Nicolas R. Ziebarth
  • “Lifting the Burden: Formal Care of the Elderly and Labor Supply of Adult Children” by Katrine V. Løken, Shelly Lundberg, and Julie Riise

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Means to an End December 16, 2016 According to a recent survey of nearly 8,000 Americans, ov…

December 16, 2016

by Sean Philpott-Jones, Chair, Bioethics Program of Clarkson University & Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Means to an End

My mother passed away last Wednesday. She was found unresponsive on the floor of her kitchen early Tuesday, in severe septic shock from untreated peritonitis and a perforated intestine. Although she was admitted to the intensive care unit and given aggressive medical treatment, she never regained consciousness. Because of her age and her poor health – exacerbated by the fact that she had ignored the signs and symptoms of sepsis for nearly a month – her body was simply not strong enough to fight the infection. Less than thirty-six hours after she was admitted to the hospital, we let her peacefully and painlessly slip away.

I’m telling you this story not to garner sympathy, but rather to share with you a lesson that I learned. Because my mother was unmarried and because she was unable to consent for treatment, according to the laws of the state in which she lived I was the de facto decision maker about her medical care. This is quite common. Unless otherwise indicated, family members – usually the spouse, adult children, adult siblings and parents, in that order – are assumed to be the surrogate decision makers for a patient who cannot provide consent.

The decisions that I had to make, most of which were made at 2:30 in the morning after chatting briefly with the clinical care team, included the decision to make my mother DNR (‘do not resuscitate’) after her heart stopped for the third time.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Parenting Our Children After We Die

Susan Gubar: ‘Accounts of the grief children suffer after the deaths of their mothers or fathers reinforced my desire to use the time granted by treatment to help my adult children cope with my demise. We always parent our offspring to survive us, but cancer intensifies the urgency to do so.’

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Burnout and self-care for bioethicists

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Like many bioethicists, I often have to research disturbing parts of American culture for various writing projects. Topics like rape, gun violence, sexism, and medical racism are often times the subjects of my scholarly articles and blogs. Many times, I have to research how these topics play out in our everyday lives, forcing me to research popular and heart-breaking news stories such as the Orlando night club shooting or the recent Stanford rape case. Because of technology, social media, and the always handy cell phone, my research often requires me to read or watch the testimonies of witnesses to heinous crimes, crime scene photos, and/or videos of murders. During my research I encounter articles written by hateful and bigoted people, but as a good researcher, I have to read their vile words as well. Sometimes my research hits a little too close to home and prompts me to think about the possibility of these disturbing occurrences happening to me, my family, or my friends. While doing research on these kinds of topics, I, understandably can feel frustrated with the world, angry, sad, hopeless, and especially discouraged. My current research project on victim-blaming has me feeling especially angry and discouraged right now, but it is also forcing me to think about how I can take care of my emotional and mental health so that I can continue what I believe to be meaningful work.

Medical educators often teach medical students and physicians how to prevent burnout, how to recognize burnout, and how to treat burnout.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Michele Friedner’s “Valuing Deaf Worlds in Urban India” by Cassandra Hartblay

Valuing Deaf Worlds in Urban India

by Michele Friedner

Rutgers University Press, 2015, 216 pages

 

An Indian coffee shop franchise advertises their practice of hiring deaf baristas – “silent brewmasters” – to work their espresso machines. A Bangalore tech company boasts that it hires “physically challenged” workers only (118-121). Meanwhile, deaf adults in Bangalore complain that adult education at several non-profits is insufficient to really make a difference given disability stigma and the communication barriers that deaf adults face. What course of global events brought about a situation in which employing deaf workers constitutes a kind of value-making project for corporate entities? In the multilingual world of 21st century Bangalore, what does it mean – socially, relationally, vocationally, personally – to be a deaf adult who signs to communicate?

Recent years have brought a new surge of ethnographic attention to disability as a global category, and to the social configurations and lived experiences of disability and disability stigma across global cultural contexts (for example, recent posts on this blog, including those by Elizabeth Lewis and Seth Messinger). Medical anthropology has hung its hat on the capacity of illness, disease, and practices of health and healing to at once illuminate and describe the broader social and political context, and, to center the voices of populations whose perspectives are rarely the focus of public discourse. Meanwhile, sensory ethnography and neuroanthropology have observed that bodily ways of knowing and coming to know are not nearly as stable as previous generations of social and behavioral science may have let on.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Being in Great Demand

Each day when I start work checking my
email is among the first things I do. This is really a three step process.
First I go to my quarantined email to see whether I need to salvage anything or
if I can just press the “delete all” function. 
This is the spam quarantine set up by my employer which uses some kind
of rubric to prescreen my email for spam and save me from it. Usually I can
just click that “delete all” button but occasionally there is a real email in
there so I always look through it. For some reason this rubric often identifies
email from my adult children as spam, especially if they send it from their
workplace. Of course sometimes, in its wisdom, it does not quarantine such
email so I cannot really figure out how it selects.

After viewing the quarantined email I
scan through my non-quarantined email. Here I find a lot more spam which seems
to me to be just like what was quarantined but was not. This further confuses
me about how the spam filter works. But all is good now as I have reduced the
remaining email to a reasonable and manageable amount. I need to make an aside
here that I do not really like the term spam for junk email because I remember
eating it as a kid and rather liking it.

I now have a very much reduced inbox
that now consist primarily of two categories: 1) Real Email; and 2) Fake Real
Email.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.