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  • Let Patients Decide

    Posted by Jonathan on July 25th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Face transplants are a great idea if someone can make them work.

    Someone is trying.

    The “ethicists,” part of whose problem is hubris and another part is conflict of interest (they have an incentive to promote their own role as decisionmakers), scoff:

    “This idea needs more evaluation. What we do know either can’t be quantified or the risks clearly outweigh the benefits,” said Karen Maschke, the associate for ethics and science policy at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in Garrison, N.Y. “Look, a lot of science is boosterism.

    “People always think they’re going to be cured by new treatments and life will be normal again, but that’s usually not the case.”

    But the creative surgeon has the right idea:

    Dr. Siemionow disputes the notion that facially disfigured patients should not be allowed to decide the risks, asking, “How can people who are normal decide for burn victims ‘This is not right for you’?”

    The patients know their own interests best. They should be the ones who decide what procedures, and risks, to subject themselves to.

     

    5 Responses to “Let Patients Decide”

    1. Sandy P Says:

      Oh, boy, a bunch of cat women walking around.

    2. James d. Says:

      The focus, if not the actual primary use, of any procedure like this is eventually going to be those people doing it out of vanity, not tragic victims of burns and the like. It doesn’t change the idea that individual patients should decide for themselves, but it is something to consider.
      More power to those sorts (it’ll cost a bundle, for one thing), as long as society recognizes that vanity for what it is, and restoring a burn victim’s appearance as something else entirely.

    3. incognito Says:

      boy are they behind the times. haven’t you seen James Bond does Korea? They made a Korean into an Englishman already, accent and all. get with the program man…

    4. ed in texas Says:

      So how ethical is it butt into somebody’s personal business, make decisions for them about what is right, and then presumably charge them for the service? (Somebody has to be paying these guys, right?)

    5. Moira Breen Says:

      “I’m a bioethicist. I’m here to help.”

      “I’m a bioethicist. Stop! You’re doing that all wrong!”

      How on earth did we ever manage to make ethical judgments before bioethicists came along?

      Who the hell are these people, and how do we get rid of them before they become a completely entrenched bureaucratic plague? Or at least send ‘em back to philosophy departments or whatever, where they can’t get up to too much mischief.