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    Forum Posts by
    Franklin G. Miller

    • Navigating Ethics Review of Human Infection Trials With Zika

      Posted on April 30, 2018

      Human infection challenge studies, which deliberately expose healthy volunteers to disease-causing infectious agents under carefully controlled conditions, offer a valuable method of biomedical research aimed at efficient initial efficacy testing of vaccine candidates, among other possible uses. They can be controversial, however, often evoking the response, “How can researchers do that?” Although Nazi physicians conducted… Read more

    • Ethical Supervision?

      Posted on November 27, 2017

      As I read a recently published report of an interesting and important placebo-controlled trial of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, one sentence in particular caught my eye: “The study was designed under the ethical supervision of an academic ethicist (JS) with placebo trial experience.” I regularly read scientific reports of clinical trials in the medical literature, and… Read more

    • Has Physician-Assisted Death Become the “Good Death?”

      Posted on May 30, 2017

      “Death with dignity” for the past 40 years has meant, for many people, avoiding unwanted medical technology and dying in a hospital.  A “natural” death at home or in a hospice facility has been the goal.   During the last 20 years, physician-assisted suicide has been legalized for terminally ill patients in several states of the… Read more

    • Should Bioethics Respond to Authoritarian Populism?

      Posted on March 29, 2017

      In the wake of the Trump administration and populist movements abroad, Mildred Solomon and Bruce Jennings published a provocative essay, “Bioethics and Populism: How Should our Field Respond?” in the March-April issue of the Hastings Center Report. Their call for the field of bioethics to respond to “authoritarian populism” and the threat it poses to… Read more

    • Bioethics and the Dogma of “Brain Death”

      Posted on February 3, 2014

      Two cases involving “brain death” have received considerable public attention, including commentary by several well-known bioethicists. In commenting on these cases the bioethicists have stated, in no uncertain terms, that an individual correctly diagnosed as “brain dead” is dead, pure and simple.  Contrary to appearances of being alive, in reality the “brain dead” individual is… Read more

    • New Hope for Detecting Consciousness in Vegetative Patients: Ethical Implications

      Posted on November 29, 2011

      Patients diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state have figured prominently in the law and medical ethics relating to end-of-life decisions since the case of Karen Quinlan in 1976. These patients have profound brain injuries that leave them in the seemingly anomalous condition of being awake but not aware. They have normal sleep-wake cycles… Read more

    • Science, Ethics, and Politics: The Case of Avastin

      Posted on July 8, 2011

      The recent controversy over the approval of Avastin for metastatic breast cancer reflects the political polarization that characterizes contemporary America. Avastin provides marginal benefit in the aggregate for patients with advanced breast cancer. There is no rigorous evidence from randomized controlled trials that it increases survival; testimonials of breast cancer patients who have survived longer… Read more

    • Plagiarism and Bioethics

      Posted on February 22, 2011

      I hope that I am unique, or at least unusual, in having detected plagiarism of my work five times during my career as a bioethics scholar. Despite extensive discussion of plagiarism in biomedical research published in scientific journals, to my knowledge, the bioethics literature has devoted no attention to plagiarism within the field. I describe… Read more

    • Muddling Through? A Commentary on Controversies in the Determination of Death

      Posted on January 22, 2009

      Traditionally the cessation of breathing and heart beat has marked the passage from life to death. Shortly after death was determined, the body became a cold corpse, suitable for burial or cremation. Two technological changes in the second half of the twentieth century prompted calls for a new, or at least expanded, definition of death:… Read more