In this program we explore the issues around medical science that are forcing us to define life, death, quality of life and patient rights. We confront the moral and ethical questions that arise when facing critical healthcare decisions. Part 1/4
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The Moral Challenges of Medical Science Part ¼ Mary Lynn Schiavi: Well advancements in medical science have for the desk the opportunity to live decades longer than in previous generations. For every new possibility offered, we now face an equal number of challenges and we find ourselves confronting decisions that are unprecedented in human history. When does life begin? When should life end? How do we define death when we have the ability to keep people technically alive or we should say, technologically alive long after their discrete body parts no longer function. Welcome to Matter and Beyond. I’m your host Mary Lynn Schiavi. In this program we’re going to explore issues medical science that are forcing to defined life, death, quality of life, patient rights and confront the moral and ethical questions that arise when facing critical health care decisions. Host: Doctor Stuart Youngner is the Chair of the Department of Bio Ethics at Case Western Reserve University. He has served as consultant to the United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment and Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Stuart Youngner: We collaborate with clinical department for instance end -of-life issues. I death collaborate with the Departments of Pediatrics and the Departments of Pediatrics and the Department of Medicine. Colleagues have collaborated with departments in the undergraduate schools such as philosophy or religious studies, history, so it really can reach out just about any place. Host: Doctor Youngner’s interest in bioethics began when he worked as a psychiatrist in a hospital set in with the medical and surgical patients in their families. Stuart Youngner: And when I started practice it was in the early 1970s and it was just the time when high technology was exploding in medical centers. So I actually started my training when the first intensive care units opened and opened at the hospital where I was working and before that were nothing. Host: Today, 20% or more hospital beds are intensive care unit bed and many hospitals have multiple intensive care units including medical, surgical, neurosurgical, neurological, pediatric and neonatal. And with our advanced capabilities come new questions and decisions. So I was then they opened and it was very interesting. It was a whole thing that’s special area of the hospital with highly trained doctors and nurses, machines that kept people alive, intense care of patients and decisions that had never happened in that they made before. People kept alive who would have easily died, many of them saved but some of them becoming captives to machines and the technology and there was no experience, there was no law, there were no hospital guidelines, there were no professional guideline, it was totally new. Host: It was his work with patients in an intensive care that prompted Doctor Youngner interest in not only the psychological but the ethical questions that were facing people. This offered him the opportunity to participate in a public discussion about end-of life –issues that began almost 30 years ago. Stuart Youngner: But there were no lost and we were very worried that if you didn’t do this you could be prosecuted from murder, for negligence, it just wasn’t there and I remember many of those of those cases sitting around with the doctors and nurses and families, what should we do, what should we do and it was quite amazing. Host: According to Blackall, many of the decisions we are faced with now involved reckless reflection on the ethics of our decisions. Because there are so many options and the life choice is verily simple and straight forward. George Blackall: Now, I think when you think about End of Life, that it’s never as clear as if, you pick a news paper and read about some dramatic ethics case in the paper, right? I mean when you’re in the hospital and a child been seek for a white. It’s often not crystal clear if this intervention should be done or should not be done. So maybe with the o

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