117 e-Letters

published between 2006 and 2009

  • Defibrillation is Heroic Too
    Mark D Siegel

    Gelbman and Gelbman argue correctly that, as currently used, "DNR" orders are confusing and could lead patients to have appropriate therapy withheld. Their suggestion that we use more transparent orders, such as "no chest compressions," merits consideration.

    However, I disagree with their contention that defibrillation is not extraordinary or heroic. Unlike their other examples- intubation and vasoactive me...

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  • No Right To Reproduce
    Eva Sta

    This argument looks like a straw man to me and one framed with the golden aura of "ethics". Most modern medicine and healthcare is "life extension" and I don't see population control advocates suggesting modern medical practices be stopped. The exception might be IVF using some reasonable arguments that infertility is not a medical condition worthy of heroic, expensive, and/or insurance reimbursable efforts.


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  • Force dieting may not be conducive to health
    Yvonne Lau

    In the article ‘Should we force the obese to diet?’, Giordano[1] drew similarities between the anorexics and the obese, suggesting that if people could accept it ‘ethical to force people to maintain “a proper diet” in the anorexics, there could also be similar justifications to force the obese to diet. There are problems with this premise. First of all, even though anorexia and obesity are both related to problems with e...

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  • “Eugenics talk” and disabled – is it really just about emotions?
    Urh Groselj

    Modern genetics differs crucially from the old eugenics, despite the sad fact that they coexisted for few decades in the respected countries like Sweden and Canada, where thousands of coercive sterilizations of mentally ill were taking place until early 1970s (1). Fortunately, the focus has shifted in the meantime from the genetic health of the population to that of an individual, and even more importantly - individual...

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  • Physician Religious Beliefs
    John A. O'Connor

    Professor Bock's thorough determination of medically valid religious belief overlooked the role played by the physician's personally held beliefs. The physician population is not a monolithic science identity. For example, a specialist does not see the world the same as the general practitioner. Overly stereotypical, the oncologist assumes that the general practitioner just wants to comfort their patients rather than...

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  • Three wise men: a reply to a response to ‘Is triage incoherent?’
    Colin Parker

    I thank David Hunter for his response to my ‘somewhat vitriolic attack on its central premises and conclusions’; and may I say that in the context of an informality of logic my overriding vitriolic or critical concern was with his arguments, and my conclusion is still that they are ineffective in serving his purpose.

    There are some minor points of misunderstanding on Hunter’s part which may be helpful to conside...

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  • How Altruism in scientific research? Why?
    Fernando Verdú

    The way to study the problem of coercion of Wertheimer and Miller,1 is certainly correct and arrive at a conclusion very acceptable: The offer of financial payment does not coerce because it cannot coerce.

    They claim finally that the question as to when the offer of financial payment constitutes an undue inducement, is a topic that merits separate analysis.

    However, we believe that the payment for research...

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  • Medical ethics for children: the virtues' role
    Maurizio Soldini

    I agree with Baines [1] that there are difficulties with the application of the four principles approach to incompetent children. Baines says that the most important principle – respect for autonomy – is not directly applicable to incompetent children and the principle of beneficence is complicated by difficulties in assessing what a child’s interests are. Moreover there are other problems with the four principles appro...

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  • Medical education and a patients "rights"
    Kenneth A Hoekstra

    In the recent article by Draper et al. the authors highlight the increasingly difficult task of patient involvement in medical student practical, technical and hands on learning (1). The authors continue by suggesting that ALL patients should be willing to provide practical experience for medical student learning. The suggestion that a "new and more explicit agreement is needed" to perhaps strongly support or perhaps enf...

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  • Direct-to-consumer services: many unresolved questions
    Pascal Borry

    For a variety of reasons attempts to introduce commercial testing services in Europe have so far proved rather unsuccessful. Currently, testing for genetic disease or susceptibility is still mainly offered through medical genetics departments in major university hospitals. In this context, genetic testing is restricted to individuals who are considered at (high) risk for this specific disorder and for whom the test would...

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