This is the point in my blog where I will begin describing my research, legal, ethical, medical, and political interests in bioethics. I met with my first mentor yesterday, and I will be describing my meeting in a follow-up post.
Because I am working primarily in end-of-life care issues and healthcare reform, some of these posts may be emotionally and politically charged for readers. I understand that everyone has a different opinion on these issues and comes from different backgrounds, upbringings, and experiences. I hope that I am able to provide you all with new information on these topics and maybe explain why I hold a particular viewpoint. If you feel that you may be particularly affected by a topic, please feel free to check the tags beforehand. I will do my best to maintain accuracy in my tags. Views reflected in this blog are mine alone.
American media frequently tries to condense charged topics such as end-of-life care and treatment options (think dialysis, euthanasia, ventilators, etc.), reproductive rights, and healthcare insurance to “black-and-white issues.” Maybe some of you hold strongly convicted opinions on these issues and are indeed unmovable forces, but in my experiences in talking with others from Tennessee, New York, North Carolina, California, Washington, Maryland, Iowa, Iceland, Germany, England, France, and beyond, most people realize the gray nature of these issues. It’s hard to hold “black-and-white” views in medicine, as every case is unique, and additional factors can further complicate an individual’s case. I, myself, hold many strong principles in approaching these issues, but I also realize that nearly every case in medical ethics forces me to consider my own principles. Sometimes, my final decision in how I would approach a case differs from the immediate principle. I realize that there are few absolutes within my system of values.
Research in bioethics requires both several commas and disclaimers. I don’t have a checklist to work with. I’m working within a system that is subject to patient, familial, government, physician, institutional, procedural, and legal forces.
With that, I hope that you understand the intent of this blog. I’m not looking to shake your ethical or moral foundations, yet I do think that reexamining our beliefs is certainly healthy. I’m just looking to share information with you as I come across and think about these issues.