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    Forum Posts by
    Dena S. Davis

    • Avoiding Dementia, Causing Moral Distress

      Posted on September 3, 2018

      In “Avoiding Deep Dementia,” an essay in the current issue of the Hastings Center Report, legal scholar Norman Cantor explains why he has an advance directive that calls  for voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as a means of ending his life if he develops dementia and reaches a particular state of decline. Cantor’s essay… Read more

    • Being Poor Is a Full-Time Job

      Posted on March 14, 2018

      An article in the Hastings Center Report asks whether it is ethical to ration health care by inconvenience and red tape. In other words, given that all societies must ration health care in one way or another, is it ever ethical to push people away from an unpreferred health care option by making it more… Read more

    • Neil Gorsuch, Aid in Dying, and Roe v. Wade

      Posted on March 24, 2017

      Given the chance, would Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch vote to overturn Roe v Wade? Challenge state “death with dignity” laws?

    • Why HPV Vaccination Should Not Be Required for School Attendance

      Posted on November 12, 2015

      I hugely respect Aaron E Carroll, who writes for The Incidental Economist blog, and often writes for “The Upshot” in the New York Times. Earlier this week in “The Upshot” he talks about the disappointing uptake of the HPV vaccine(the one that protects against sexually transmitted herpes virus, which can cause cancer of the cervix,… Read more

    • Vaccine Exemptions and the Church-State Problem

      Posted on February 23, 2015

      The current measles outbreak has brought public attention to the ease with which vaccine exemptions are available. As the media continually inform us, 48 states allow for religious exemptions, while 19 states also offer exemptions based on some sort of personal philosophy. The New York Times featured a snarky column by Ginia Belafonte dismissing most religious… Read more

    • Two Cheers for Choosing Wisely

      Posted on December 18, 2014

      The Choosing Wisely campaign is one of the most exciting experiments in health care in quite a while. If it lives up to its potential, Choosing Wisely could prevent some of the harm caused by unnecessary tests and treatments, while helping to bring down medical costs. But the real challenge to the campaign is whether it actually… Read more

    • How Brittany Maynard Changed the Conversation about Aid in Dying

      Posted on December 1, 2014

      Brittany Maynard, the courageous 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, ended her life a month ago today. She and her husband had moved to Oregon so that Maynard could take advantage of that’s state’s Death with Dignity law. Although Maynard fit squarely into Oregon’s criteria and her death was not controversial, it did change the conversation… Read more

    • A Blood Test to Predict Alzheimer’s Disease: What’s the Elephant in the Room?

      Posted on April 7, 2014

      I recently gave a talk about Alzheimer’s disease and asked people to imagine two individuals, Manny and Sue. Manny died at 85; he was showing signs of age but living independently and was mentally “all there.” Sue lived until 99. From the time she was 88, she began a slow cognitive decline. By 93, she… Read more

    • Ritual Circumcision: Ban Metzitzah b’peh

      Posted on September 5, 2012

      Male newborn circumcision has been much in the news of late. In Germany, the procedure was criminalized in the Cologne Regional Court, and on August 21 the firstmohel(Jewish traditional practitioner) was charged with the offense. In Denmark, the prime minister initiated an investigation into whether the procedure violates the health code. A Swedish law requires that a medical… Read more

    • Restoring Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

      Posted on August 31, 2010

      Last week, in response to a lawsuit from two scientists alleging that the National Institutes of Health was in violation of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, a federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting NIH from continuing its human embryonic stem cell research. Passed by Congress in 1995, Dickey-Wicker declared that public funds cannot be… Read more

    • Public Bioethics Across the Pond

      Posted on March 9, 2007

      April 1 – Arrive London, ready for three months of lights, city, glamour in the Big Smoke. Pick up a copy of Time Out London, scan this week’s activities so that I can jump into the action. Clubs, disco, theatre, baroque music in historic churches, restaurants, street markets, bioethics.… Bioethics??? Yup, right up there in… Read more