medical ethics

Paul Arveson (
Fri, 3 May 96 09:17:31 EDT

On PBS TV tonight, there will be a 2-hour discussion on medical ethics.
I have heard some such discussions before, and the general effect on me has been
to provoke enough thought to give me a headache.

Nevertheless I encourage you to watch if you can. Our past Executive Director,
Dr. Robert Herrmann, was active in this field. Currently, Dr. Francis Collins,
one of ASA's own, is the Director of the Human Genome Project at NIH. (Someday
I would like to invite him to speak at an ASA seminar; I want to be able to ask
him some intelligent questions.)

I think the most helpful discussion of medical ethics I have seen was the one
based on a questionnaire sent to all ASA members. The compilation of answers
was given in one of the ASA journal issues (I believe it was June 1978). The
results were interesting because they represented the combined opinions of
hundreds of ASA members on lots of "hard" questions. (Of course, that doesn't
mean the majority view was necessarily "right".)

Maybe we ought to consider doing such a survey again.

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084
"Practice thoughtful kindness, and helpful acts of beauty."