Bioethics Case Studies
Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California
In this case [17 Cal. 3d 425, 551 P.2d 334, 131 Cal. Rptr. 14 (Cal. 1976)] the Supreme Court of California held that mental health professionals have a duty to protect individuals who are being threatened with bodily harm by a patient. The original 1974 decision mandated warning the threatened individual, but a 1976 rehearing of the case by the California Supreme Court called for a “duty to protect” the intended victim. The professional may discharge the duty in several ways, including notifying police, warning the intended victim, and/or taking other reasonable steps to protect the threatened individual… (read more)
Nancy Cruzan, U.S. Supreme Court
In 1983, Nancy Beth Cruzan required cardiopulmonary resuscitation after an automobile accident. She never regained consciousness. While she was weaned off a ventilator, her parents asked to have her feeding tube withdrawn. The hospital refused the request based on Missouri’s requirement for clear and convincing evidence of a patient’s wishes before withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration. After Missouri prevailed in the state Supreme Court, the Cruzan’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which holds that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment due process liberty interest supports an individual’s right to refuse life sustaining medical treatment, including artificial nutrition and hydration; the court finds that Missouri may require the clear and convincing evidentiary standard of the patient’s wishes; evidence of her wishes is subsequently uncovered and Nancy Cruzan is allowed to die. The Cruzan case, the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on ethical issues at end of life, established a federal 14th Amendment due process liberty interest to be free of unwanted medical treatment, to which all federal and state courts must adhere… (read more)
Ethics & Human Research (formerly IRB: Ethics & Human Research) aims to foster critical analysis of issues in science and health care that have implications for human biomedical and behavioral research, including developments that bring new challenges to existing ethical, regulatory, and policy frameworks governing research with humans in the United States and elsewhere. Six issues are published each year, containing an assortment of commentaries, case studies, peer-reviewed scholarly articles, and book reviews.
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|Karen J. Maschke, editor
Laura Haupt, managing editor
Julie Chibbaro, staff editor
Nora Porter, art director
Laura Beskow, PhD, MPH Vanderbilt University
Barbara Bierer, MD Harvard University
Alex Capron, LLB University of Southern California
Stephanie Solomon Cargill, PhD St. Louis University
Rebecca S. Dresser, JD, MS Washington University in St. Louis
Carl Elliott, MD, PhD University of Minnesota
Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBE University of Pennsylvania
Joseph J. Fins, MD Weill Cornell Medical College
Paul Ford, PhD Cleveland Clinic
Cristine Grady, MSN, PhD National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
Steven Joffe, MD, MPH University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan Kimmelman, PhD McGill University
Nancy M. P. King, JD Wake Forest University
Susan Lederer, PhD University of Wisconsin–Madison
Alex John London, PhD Carnegie Mellon University
Suzanne Rivera, PhD, MSW Case Western Reserve University
Mark A. Rothstein, JD University of Louisville
Laura Stark, PhD Vanderbilt University
Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA Johns Hopkins University
Benjamin S. Wilfond, MD Seattle Children’s Research Institute
ISSN 2578-2355 print; ISSN 2578-2363 online