Monday, November 26, 2018

Crazy opinions from bioethicists

Professional medical ethicists have very strange opinions. Here is an example:
A 70-year old man with advanced cancer was expected to die imminently and was admitted to a hospital pallative care ward in severe pain. While being assessed by a junior doctor, the man expressed a wish to talk about “his life and some of the choices he had made”.

After being assured that what he said would be kept confidential, patient reported that he had been involved with gangs in his youth, and that he had murdered ‘several people’ in contract killings. According to Tincknell et al., “he thought the bodies of some these people may not have been found.” The patient expressed guilt over what he had done, and said that he had spent the last 40 years of his life trying to atone for his crimes. ...

It seems that the doctors did, in the end, tell the police about the patient’s confession, after his death – at least I assume this is what the lawyer means by “The team was permitted, but not obliged, to disclose. The discretion was exercised.”
No, this is crazy. A cancer doctor may have an obligation to keep the cancer diagnosis confidential, but not to cover up murders. If the patient wanted to do a confession, they should have called a priest or a cop.

Here is another bioethicist, writing in the NY Times:
Do You Have a Moral Duty to Leave Facebook?

The platform has been used to disrupt elections, disseminate propaganda and promote hate. Regular users should ask if they are implicated in these failings.

I joined Facebook in 2008, and for the most part, I have benefited from being on it. Lately, however, I have wondered whether I should delete my Facebook account. As a philosopher with a special interest in ethics, I am using “should” in the moral sense. That is, in light of recent events implicating Facebook in objectionable behavior, is there a duty to leave it? ...

For those of us who do not engage in such objectionable behavior, it is helpful to consider whether Facebook has crossed certain moral “red lines,” entering the realm of outright wickedness.
I personally think that it would be great if millions of ppl left Facebook, and joined rival services, but this is ridiculous.

The author seems to be sucked in by NY Times propaganda that Donald Trump only won the 2016 election because Russians or data brokers somehow tricked Facebook. Facebook is run by leftists, and the NY Times thinks that it should have done a better job of supporting H. Clinton.

The chief complaints are that FB users are able to communicate with each other, with messages that might be disagreeable to the Left. Or that political candidates might to some targeted marketing.

If FB became unavailable, there are many other ways of doing those things. What is bad about them anyway?

FB is bad for censoring conservatives, but that is not mentioned.

I cannot remember the last time I heard a bioethicist say something sensible.

Update: I didn't even mention all the silly complaints about China practicing eugenics with CRISPR this week.


opsimath said...

Who, in their right mind, would make this kind of confession to a doctor? I don't believe a word of it - it is nothing but a fable.

Roger said...

Good point. These supposed experts took the patient much too seriously.