The Hastings Center Report

The Hastings Center Report is a bimonthly magazine addressing ethical issues in medicine and the life sciences for an audience of physicians and other health care practitioners, attorneys and professionals in business and academia. Founded in Feb. of 1971, The Hastings Center publishes this magazine. Subjects for the Hastings Center Report are medicine and surgery. The Managing Editor is Joyce Griffin. Gregory E. Kaebnick is the Editor.

Articles from Vol. 38, No. 6, November-December

Best-Laid Editorial Plans
Last year, in this space, I wrote that I looked forward to compiling the index for the 2008 volume of the Hastings Center Report. Perhaps I overstated the matter, but all the same, it was interesting, once again, to get a birds' eye perspective of...
Big Bang Theory: More Reason to Scrap Bush's Stem Cell Policy
To the Editor: Rob Streiffer's rifle has a narrow bore but makes a big bang ("Informed Consent and Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research," May-June 2008). He shows deficiencies in the consent forms for most of the human embryonic stem cell lines that...
Chaplaincy and Clinical Ethics: A Common Set of Questions
The ethical imperative for quality improvement in health care requires that all health care personnel engage in attentive observation, reflection, innovative thinking, and action. A core QI question for everyone working in a clinical setting is this:...
Ethical Grounding for a Profession of Hospital Chaplaincy
Hospital chaplains do not have a monopoly on the spiritual care of patients, just as teachers do not have a monopoly on teaching. Spiritual care of the ill and dying--compassionate and thoughtful attention to a patient's explanations of suffering,...
Industry Support of Continuing Medical Education: Evidence and Arguments
This past summer, Pfizer, Inc., announced plans to dramatically cut back its financial support for continuing medical education. It will support programs run by academic institutions, teaching hospitals, and medical societies, but eliminate direct...
Lost in Translation: The Chaplain's Role in Health Care
Chaplains often describe their work in health care as "translation" between the world of the patient and the world of hospital medicine. Translators usually work with texts, interpreters with words. However, when chaplains use this metaphor, it describes...
Neuroscience's Uncertain Threat to Criminal Law
Bioethics has its trends, and the latest is "neuroethics." Advances in imaging technology are expanding researchers' ability to observe the brain at work. Popular media and scholarly reports offer sweeping pronouncements about the impact of functional...
Peace
The old woman grasped at the mask, struggling against the ties that bound her hands to the sides of the bed. Her droopy eyes were open, but I don't know if she registered my presence. I arrived just as she was extubated from the ventilator, which had...
Pregnancy and Clinical Research: Our Ignorance Harms Mothers and Babies
In the 1990s, amidst reports that women were underrepresented in clinical research, a key issue in science policy was whether women's health interests were being adequately addressed. In response, the federal government established the Women's Health...
Putting Death in Context
Reports of the death of "brain death" have been greatly exaggerated (apologies to Mark Twain). Ever since Henry K. Beecher and the Harvard Ad-Hoc Brain Death Committee came up with brain death criteria in 1968, the nature, status, and definition of...
Puzzling about Peter Singer
Peter Singer has vastly expanded our moral imaginations with his argument for the moral worth of nonhuman animals. According to part of that argument, a being does not need a human genome to be a person. If beings like gorillas and orangutans have...
Rethinking the Ethics of Vital Organ Donations: Accepted Medical Practice Already Violates the Dead Donor Rule. Explicitly Jettisoning the Rule-Allowing Vital Organs to Be Extracted, under Certain Conditions, from Living Patients-Is a Radical Change Only at the Conceptual Level. but It Would Expand the Pools of Eligible Organ Donors
Mr. Jones, aged thirty, is lying in a bed in an intensive care unit, breathing with the help of a respirator. His face looks ruddy, and he is warm to the touch. Indeed, he looks healthier than other patients in the unit. He has also just been diagnosed...
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act: Fear Factor or Fantasy Island?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA, was signed into law on May 21, 2008.1 Its implications are hard to predict for a variety of reasons--for example, the scope of the law is limited to employment and health insurance; regulations...
The Nature of Chaplaincy and the Goals of QI: Patient-Centered Care as Professional Responsibility
Seasoned clinical ethicists have a saying: You cannot bite a wall. The saying refers to that demoralizing moment of taking in the scale of a (really) big challenge in health care. We have two options when we find ourselves up against this wall. One...
Trust, Translation, and HAART
Alna is a young Sudanese refugee who only recently arrived in the United States. She suspects that her husband has HIV, and she worries that she and her children might be infected or at risk for being infected. She travels nearly an hour on city buses...
What Are We Doing Here? Chaplains in Contemporary Health Care
It can be really hard--or really easy--to explain what I do for a living. Chaplains share academic training with clergy, but we complete clinical residencies and work in health care organizations. Our affinities are with the patient and family, but...