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Bioethics

Analysis and Comment (17)

Lawfully allowing a patient to die should be kept distinct from euthanasia. Lawfully allowing a patient to die should be kept distinct from euthanasia. Shutterstock

Withdrawing life-prolonging treatment not the same as killing

There is a clear legal distinction in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States between withdrawing life-prolonging treatment – such as ventilation for a person who can’t breathe unaided, or…
The ethical failures of the trials echo ongoing debates within international bioethics communities. The ethical failures of the trials echo ongoing debates within international bioethics communities. Shutterstock

Care and consent: the fraught ethics of international clinical trials

CLINICAL TRIALS – Human clinical trials are an important last hurdle in the development of new drugs and therapies. Today, The Conversation takes a closer look at this vital scientific endeavour with three…
Anaesthetist James Latham Peters transmitted the virus to his patients after he injected himself with the drug fentanyl. Anaesthetist James Latham Peters transmitted the virus to his patients after he injected himself with the drug fentanyl. Image from shutterstock.com

How was a drug-addicted doctor with hep C able to infect his patients?

Fifty-five women contracted hepatitis C after having abortions in Melbourne between 2008 and 2009. James Latham Peters, an anaesthetist with a drug dependence, has been prosecuted in Victoria for infecting…
Even if the potential donor is registered with the Australian Organ Donor Register, the family may still veto donation. Even if the potential donor is registered with the Australian Organ Donor Register, the family may still veto donation. Flickr/cabbit

Organ donation boost requires action, not just talk

Yesterday marked the beginning of DonateLife Week, in which Australia’s Organ and Tissue Authority ramps up efforts to promote organ and tissue donation with a week-long media blitz and program of public…
Researchers decoded the whole mitochondrial DNA of five Neanderthal men, one of whom belonged to the El Sidron site (pictured) in Asturias, northern Spain, in 2009. Researchers decoded the whole mitochondrial DNA of five Neanderthal men, one of whom belonged to the El Sidron site (pictured) in Asturias, northern Spain, in 2009. EPA/CSIC

Caveman ethics? The rights and wrongs of cloning Neanderthals

It now appears that the scientist who seemed to be advocating that we clone Neanderthals was suggesting only that “we need to start talking about it.” Ethics is an essential part of such a conversation…
Tont-Filippini’s claims could arose fears in the community and prompt people to reject organ donation. Tont-Filippini’s claims could arose fears in the community and prompt people to reject organ donation. Melvin Es

Dead yet? Science, scaremongering and organ donation

In his new book, Catholic bioethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filippini attempts to portray the surgeons involved in organ donation as modern-day grave robbers. As described in a recent article in The Age, Professor…
A protest against circumcision in the United States, where the debate about circumcision is still raging. A protest against circumcision in the United States, where the debate about circumcision is still raging. sigmaration/Flickr

Tradition vs individual rights: the current debate on circumcision

Non-therapeutic circumcision of male infants and boys has always been a controversial issue – and never has opinion been more polarised. In the United States, medical authorities have just overturned 40…
Peter Singer is awarded for ideas for which we shun others. Peter Singer is awarded for ideas for which we shun others. Joel Travis Sage

Cory Bernardi is right, in Peter Singer’s anti-human world

Senator Cory Bernardi has been reviled for associating homosexuality with something repugnant, bestiality. Yet Australia has just awarded its highest civilian honour to a philosopher who provides a moral…
Health-care workers who discover they are infected have an ethical obligation to seek professional advice about their work practise limitations. Health-care workers who discover they are infected have an ethical obligation to seek professional advice about their work practise limitations. stevendepolo

Privacy vs safety: should doctors disclose their infectious diseases?

A drug-addicted Melbourne anaesthetist has been accused of infecting 56 of his patients with hepatitis C by injecting himself with opiate-filled syringes, before using them on his patients. While his gross…
Intellectually disabled children who undergo the “Ashley procedure” are stunted to prevent the onset of puberty. Intellectually disabled children who undergo the “Ashley procedure” are stunted to prevent the onset of puberty. flickr/visions by vicky

Ashley’s treatment: the arrested development of a disabled child

A growing number of parents are seeking the “Ashley Treatment,” a highly experimental medical intervention designed to arrest the physical and sexual development of severely disabled children. This invasive…
Scientists could reconstruct the work on the avian flu virus from clues, making suppression of future work counterproductive. Scientists could reconstruct the work on the avian flu virus from clues, making suppression of future work counterproductive. AAP

Censoring influenza research: gagging scientists could put lives at risk

Researchers working on a pathogenic strain of avian flu (H5N1) have agreed to pause their work for 60 days so international experts can discuss the safest ways to proceed. But it’s important to ensure…
Families need to discuss organ donations so they don’t withdraw consent after death. Families need to discuss organ donations so they don’t withdraw consent after death. Muffet/Flickr

Free funerals for organ donors: are donation incentives unethical?

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the United Kingdom has suggested a scheme to gauge support for the idea of government funding for funerals of people who donate their organs. The recommendation follows…
Global justice and human rights are remarkably absent in discussions of bioethics. Global justice and human rights are remarkably absent in discussions of bioethics. Julien Harneis

Whose profit? Why bioethics needs a global perspective

Innovations deriving from genetics research, stem cell research, nanoscience and neuroscience will soon revolutionise medicine. With the potential for biotechnologies to alter natural processes and redefine…
The world’s first cyborg, artist Neil Harbission wears an eyeborg as an extension of himself rather than as part of his performance. NeilHarbisson. The world’s first cyborg, artist Neil Harbission wears an eyeborg as an extension of himself rather than as part of his performance. NeilHarbisson.

Peer review: Enhancing Human Capacities

Human enhancement is one of the most controversial and exciting areas in bioethics: advances in science promise a future world where we can radically alter our basic capabilities. This future may include…
Despite the risks, the gains science offers are too good to pass up. Despite the risks, the gains science offers are too good to pass up. AAP

The good, the bad and the deadly: the dark side of biotechnology

The life sciences provide a great opportunity to improve our lives. But our newfound power in this field also gives us the means to destroy ourselves. In 2002, Dr Eckard Wimmer and his lab at the State…

Research and News (1)