eLetters

480 e-Letters

  • Resolving the stem cell debate over body and soul.
    Richard M. Kapit, MD

    Dear Editor

    Debate on the ethics of the therapeutic use of embryonic stem cells pits the dualist concept of the embryo as a combination of body and soul (matter and spirit) against the idea of it as a psychosomatic unity, according to Polkinghorne.[1]

    Modern physics may provide an intellectual context in which to reconcile this opposition.

    Quantum mechanics (QM) is a well-verified theory of...

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  • Circumcision's Seamy Underside
    Michael Glass

    Dear Editor

    I am pleased that the Journal of Medical Ethics has dealt with the ethics of circumcision. Circumcision has a seamy underside of violence and sexual abuse that can be seen in such disparate sources as the Bible [the hundred foreskin dowry] (1 Sam. 18:25-27) and the circumcision and slaughter of the Shechemites (Genesis chapter 34 ) [1]. A...

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  • Is evidence-base medicine ethical?
    Richard G Fiddian-Green

    Dear editor

    The case has been made for environmental influences, which might reasonably include medications taken as prescribed or consumed in contaminated water or food, having a profound effect upon future generations by influencing gamete selection [1].

    In the case of obesity, for example, it was proposed that gametes might be evolutionarily selected to thrive on the diet to which they have access...

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  • Author's response
    Rein Vos

    Dear Editor

    Schaafsma and Verbeek are positive about the central ideas of our paper, as they endorse what we have named the intrusion and coordination model. They also regard the notion of coordination of worlds of norms and values that we develop in the last part, as appropriate for all medical disciplines and professions.

    Their criticism, however, misses the point of the article. Far from undervaluing occ...

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  • Slaying the dragon of the ages - immortality or just life extension
    Søren Holm

    Dear Editor

    I enjoyed the fable very much, and think that I am in agreement with much of the philosophical gloss. There is, however, one issue that troubles me. To kill the dragon of aging we need not only to develop life extension therapies, we need to develop immortality therapies. Otherwise there will still be trains going up the mountain, although for a given population size there will be fewer and fewer trains...

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  • Evidence-based Occupational Health
    Frederieke G Schaafsma

    Dear Editor

    We would like to comment on the recent theme issue on evidence based medicine, especially on the article about "Coordinating the norms and values of medical research, medical practice, and patient worlds." This is a title that appeals to all physicians with an interest in medical research and its implementation in medical practice. Vos et al. embark upon the important topic of evidence-based occupa...

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  • Informed Consent, not consensus
    Celio Levyman, MD, MSc

    Dear Editor

    "Informed consent is a great advance towards protecting the rights and autonomy of patients.

    However its usefulness is far from universal: informed consent cannot clarify the secondary use of tissues, as the authors point out, and in practice its use is more and more a manner of legal protection against malpractice claims in various countries, and a virtual nonentity in emergency situations,

    ...
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  • Introduction to the Olivieri Symposium – Setting the Record Straight
    Adrian M. Viens

    Dear Editor

    I want to thank Dr Olivieri’s core set of long-standing supporters for their letter [1] on the Introduction to the Olivieri Symposium that was recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.[2] Gallie et al. have been staunch supporters of Dr. Olivieri for years, and this support on her behalf has played a pivotal role in attempting to clarify perceived mistakes made in public and academic repo...

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  • Introduction to the Olivieri Symposium – Don’t fudge the ethics
    Brenda L. Gallie

    Dear editor,

    The Introduction[1] to the very welcome Olivieri Symposium focuses on a “timeline of the most salient events”. Unfortunately, Viens and Savulescu left out several events of fundamental ethical concern and accepted some “facts” that are highly questionable. Most surprisingly, they have fallen into a common error: emphasising the scientific argument, when that is not their expertise, and bypassing the funda...

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  • What would you do Doctor?
    L Duvika Mewasingh

    Dear Editor

    The paper by J Harris is well thought out and certainly discusses one of the most difficult issues a doctor may face; this includes not only breaking bad news but also helping his/her patients with any ensuing decisions regarding 'end of life decisions'. As a paediatrician, one faces the additional difficulty that one's patient is often unable to voice his/her wishes or feelings. When faced with hav...

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