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How much risk can health workers be asked to take on? Mike Segar/Reuters

When it comes to Ebola, how much risk is too much?

Taking care of sick people has always involved personal risk. From plague to tuberculosis to smallpox to SARS, health-care workers have put themselves in danger in the course of fulfilling their duties…
Ron Barnes, Doug Cope, Eileen Webber and Bob Lugton feature in ABC TV’s 4 Corners documentary The Walking Wounded. The Walking Wounded, Four Corners

The Walking Wounded calls for a rethink of what we most value

Starting with Karl Marx, many thinkers have pointed out that the creative potential of the capitalist economic system comes at a cost – the lack of inherent ethical scruples to limit the inexorable logic…
Time to unlock intelligence potential.

Genetic screening to enhance IQ should be embraced

There could be a way of predicting – and preventing – which children will go on to have low intelligence, according to the findings of a study researchers at Cardiff University presented on Monday. They…
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…
Marlise’s husband and parents say her body is being used as an incubator. Image from shutterstock.com

Brain death, pregnancy and ethics: the case of Marlise Munoz

In November, 33-year-old Texas woman Marlise Munoz collapsed at her Fort Worth home after suffering a suspected blood clot in her lungs. She was later declared brain dead. When the hospital determined…
Safeguards to protect women and children should not be eroded. Image from shutterstock.com

Not for profit: the case against commercial surrogacy

For singles and couples who can’t naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, surrogacy is sometimes considered an option to have a child. Current laws across Australia permit “altruistic” surrogacy which…
We love the NHS but maybe we love life more. PA/Dave Thompson

Jumping the organ queue questions some core principles

Giving priority for transplants to people who have joined the organ donor register (ODR) isn’t a new idea and is already happening in countries such as Israel and Singapore. In Israel, where a points-based…
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…
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…
Post-marketing studies are often used as ploys to get doctors in the habit of prescribing expensive new medicines. Flickr / Nestle

How Big Pharma opens the market to new expensive drugs

New medicines are often marketed on the basis of clinical trials of limited size and duration. So clinical studies of a medicine after it has reached the market (post-marketing studies) can be a useful…
Encouraging GPs to “on-sell” products to patients is likely to produce unnecessary or inappropriate prescribing. fuzzirella/Flickr

Swisse Vitamins highlights the failure of industry self-regulation

Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd has been in the news recently over their Federal Court action to suppress a determination of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Complaint Resolution Panel (CRP) about a number of…
A fundamental change in the relationship between industry and medical professionals is needed. flickr/buddawiggi

Have we reached the limit of effectiveness of self-regulation and codes of ethics?

TRANSPARENCY AND MEDICINE – A series examining issues from ethics to the evidence in evidence-based medicine, the influence of medical journals to the role of Big Pharma in our present and future health…
The obligation to tell patients about medical mistakes is clear but we don’t know whether it’s complied with. hang_in_there/Flickr

Open disclosure: why doctors should be honest about errors

TRANSPARENCY AND MEDICINE – A series examining issues from ethics to the evidence in evidence-based medicine, the influence of medical journals to the role of Big Pharma in our present and future health…
Conflict of interest management depends on the existence of a critical culture that recognises the issues. Waldo Jaquith

Don’t show me the money: the dangers of non-financial conflicts

TRANSPARENCY AND MEDICINE – A series examining issues from ethics to the evidence in evidence-based medicine, the influence of medical journals to the role of Big Pharma in our present and future health…
New therapies that haven’t yet been clinically proven may still be used ethically under certain circumstances. Juraj Kubica

Eminence or evidence? The ethics of using untested treatments

TRANSPARENCY AND MEDICINE – A series examining issues from ethics to the evidence in evidence-based medicine, the influence of medical journals to the role of Big Pharma in our present and future health…

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