Why Ethicists Should Educate Patients on Self-Advocacy

COVID-19 has obviously stirred up a lot of ethical challenges. It has exacerbated issues of inequality, forced hospitals and healthcare practicioners to make difficult decisions and implement very imperfect policies when it comes to the rationing of scarce medical resources, and has created dozens of new public health questions in regards to how best to… Continue reading Why Ethicists Should Educate Patients on Self-Advocacy

Ethical Plans, Ethical Choices: Thinking through COVID-19

Dear friends. As you might imagine, today's post is about COVID-19, but I want to assure you that it is also very much not a post about COVID-19. Today's post is about how I think it is largely a mistake to think about ethics as a series of individual actions. The further I go into… Continue reading Ethical Plans, Ethical Choices: Thinking through COVID-19

What Humans Need: Designing Ethical Systems

A wooden hammer is poised to smash a brown egg sitting in a white egg cup. The objects are against a plain black background.

Philosophy at its base cannot emerge from nothing, nor can ethics. Every ethical system is based on some particular understanding of what is most important about the world, and in particular, about humans. They all implicitly have some underlying value that guides the theory as it is built up. For example, Utilitarianism takes its basic important… Continue reading What Humans Need: Designing Ethical Systems

The Ethics of Naming Diseases

Six vials filled with blue liquid are in a stand holding them up.

Amongst all the news that is swirling around the coronavirus, a clear trend of racism has emerged, despite best efforts to halt it. Unfortunately, despite best efforts to stick to simply the name "coronavirus" or 2019-nCov, and despite the fact that it is less deadly than the common flu,  it has been irrevocably associated with… Continue reading The Ethics of Naming Diseases

Nudging and Social Media

A white hand holds a phone with icons illuminated for the following social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Pintrest, Tumblr, LinkedIN, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

In the past, I've talked about "Nudging" and how it relates to paternalism. As a brief rundown, "nudging" (or libertarian paternalism)  is the idea that we can change people's behaviors using "choice architecture" and other psychological tricks to do what we want them to do. In public health, this might look like making healthier choices… Continue reading Nudging and Social Media

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): A Primer

A human skeleton from the skull down to the shoulders.

Given the current conversation around physician-assisted-suicide, aka. Medical Assistance in Dying, aka. MAID, in light of this survey promoted by the federal government, I though that as my first Moral Guillotines of 2020 that I would give a little overview on MAID in the Canadian context, and some of the upcoming issues. What is MAID?… Continue reading Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): A Primer

AI Bias in Healthcare

A man in a doctor's coat and a man in a business suit stand in front of a window. Both are looking at a third party who is off screen.

I've talked about AI Ethics in the past- about how AI is not unbaised, but rather takes our biases and amplifies them, because AI and ML (Machine Learning) algorithms must be programmed in the first place. They centralize decision making, and create "black boxes" that are often unparseable to their users. Even proliferation of bias in… Continue reading AI Bias in Healthcare

What should an “Intersectional Approach” look like in a healthcare setting?

I identify as an intersectional feminist. This is partially I think due to the timing at which I entered the academy/wider world and was exposed to feminism and partially because I, as a privileged white woman, recognize that my struggles are not the be and and end all of oppression- and not even close. But… Continue reading What should an “Intersectional Approach” look like in a healthcare setting?

Safety vs. Non-Discrimination: We can have both!

A needle is drawing blood from an arm on a pink blanket. The arm has a yellow rubber tourniquet on it.

As per the regular news cycle, recently in Canada there have been renewed calls for the blood donation process to be less discriminatory towards the LGTBQ+ community. A few weeks ago a non-binary person came forward with a story about being refused as a donor (unless they were willing to disclose their entire medical history)… Continue reading Safety vs. Non-Discrimination: We can have both!

The Ethics of Harm Reduction

Welcome back to Moral Guillotines! Still following up from a lovely time at the Canadian Bioethics Society Conference in May, here is my take on harm reduction ethics in healthcare. When it comes to the discussion of harm reduction in the medical field- particularly in hospitals, I believe that there are really two questions at… Continue reading The Ethics of Harm Reduction