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Editor’s Note: Patient Care to Public Health to Synthetic Biology

The January-February 2018 issue of the Hastings Center Report includes pieces addressing patient care concerns that lie at the original core of bioethics and pieces that reflect the field’s growing breadth. Among the pieces getting at the original core is an article by philosopher Daniel Brudney on the moral values underpinning surrogate decision-making. The article and the two commentaries that follow it contribute to the debate on the moral authority of surrogate decision-makers. Several items in the issue take up matters of public health and health policy. For example, the lead article, by Nir Eyal, examines the ethics of using inconvenience—waiting lists and the like—to constrain the consumption of health care services, and a commentary by Lawrence Gostin examines the regulation of sugary beverages. A supplement to the issue contains a special report about the tools and processes used to assess the impact of emerging technologies, with a focus on synthetic biology.

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