Princeton Journal of Bioethics – Volume II Spring 1999

Contents

Tissue Banking: Genetic Donations and Informed Consent
Laura H. Swibel - University of Pennsylvania
The Bioethicist and the Media
Gregory E. Pence, Ph.D. - University of Alabama at Birmingham - Department of Philosophy
The Convergence of Medicine and Telecommunication: Implications for Patient Care
Neeklaksh K. Varshney - University of Alabama at Birmingham
An Ethical Consideration of Children Born to Contracted Surrogate Mothers
Aaron Pickering - Berry COllege
Patient Consent in Psychtropic Drug Treatment
Andrew Garrison - Dartmouth College
The Slipper Slope and Technological Determinism
Anne Colleen Cooper - University of Notre Dame


Abstracts

Tissue Banking: Genetic Donations and Informed Consent
by Laura H. Swibel – University of Pennsylvania

Genetic information can easily be derived from almost any tissue sample and currently, storage of tissue samples is not regulated well enough to protect people from the risks associated with genetic testing. Often the individual who provides the tissue sample is unaware that it may be used for purposes other than immediate clinical treatment or diagnosis. Because genetic material harbors a great deal of importance to individuality, family, ancestry, culture, religion, and socioeconomic status, it is important that permission to use such tissue samples be given to researchers. Since genetic information is usually pursued to eventually develop treatments to cure, alleviate symptoms, or decrease the incidence of disease, contribution of one’s own genetic material should be treated as a donation much in the same way that other organ donations are managed.


The Convergence of Medicine and Telecommunication: Implications for Patient Care
by Neelaksh K. Varshney – University of Alabama at Birmingham

Technology is reshaping medicine. Telemedicine, or remote health care, allows real-time physician/patient and physician/physician consultations over long distances. Because this new form of medicine challenges traditional tenets of the profession, some have proposed that telemedicine will harm patients. In fact, many state legislatures have recently passed legislation limiting its use. Arguments against the technology are misguided. Along with increasing access, telemedicine reduces health care costs, and therefore contributes to a more efficient, effective health care model. Its contributions to underserved populations are especially impressive, as evidenced by ongoing studies.


Patient Consent in Psychotropic Drug Treatment
by Andrew Garrison – Dartmouth College

Although psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants and antipsychotics have been prescribed since the 1950s, there remain complex ethical issues concerning their use, particularly with regards to patient consent, since psychiatric disorders affect patients’ ability to give informed consent to treatment. However, by appreciating the temporal aspects of both informed consent and psychotropic drug treatment, we can develop a compassionate yet rationally defensible ethical position whereby we respect patients’ autonomy, yet also provide severely ill patients with the care they require.


The Bioethicist and the Media
by Gregory E. Pence, Ph.D. – University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Philosophy

Bioethics is a young, interdisciplinary field that owes a considerable debt to the media for its existence. As such, a special relationship has developed between bioethicists and journalists.


An Ethical Consideration of Children Born to Contracted Surrogate Mothers
by Aaron Pickering – Berry College

In the context of a growing and largely unregulated marketplace for surrogate motherhood arrangements, this paper addresses the ethical dilemmas presented by such a marketplace for the children that it produces. In order to establish that this is a relevant issue, a proof that children born from such arrangements have a right to claim harm is given. An exploration of the potential harm to children that an unrestricted surrogate marketplace might create is then offered. The paper concludes with a condemnation of an unrestricted surrogate marketplace based on its potential detrimental effects on children.


The Slippery Slope and Technological Determinism
by Anne Colleen Cooper – University of Notre Dame

A widely used model for bioethical argumentation is the slippery slope. Many ethicists, such as Dr. Gregory Pence in his work, Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning? maintain that it uses emotion and fear to justify rigid conservatism and status quo postitions in the face of scientific advancement. This paper evaluates the potential impact of these claims for science research and society. It then shows that most of these concerns can be ethically remedied and argues that the emotive nature of the slippery slope does not preclude it as a valid and helpful model.