In 2008, a cycling accident left bioethicist Margaret Battin's husband quadriplegic and dependent on life support technology. The accident forced Battin, a right-to-die advocate, to reflect on the positions she's taken in the past and decide whether she still believes in them.
Science journalist Emily Anthes talks about how scientists are engineering mice with tumors and working to create pigs that can grow organs for human transplant and insects that could serve as drones for the military.
In a new book, medical ethicist Harriet Washington details how genes and tissues are increasingly being patented by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Those firms, she argues, are focused more on their profits than on the medical needs of patients.
In 1951, Henrietta Lacks died after a long battle with cervical cancer. Doctors cultured her cells without permission from her family. The story of those cells — known as HeLa cells, in Lacks' honor — and of the medical advances that came from them, is told in Rebecca Skloot's book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
In Stem Cell Now, bioethics expert Christopher Thomas Scott explores the possibilities of what some consider the greatest discovery since nuclear fusion: the isolation of embryonic stem cells for research.
Bioethicist George Annas and Director of the Law, Medicine & Ethics Program, Boston University Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Law. "Standard of Care," (Oxford University Press) is his new book which examines how the law has shaped medical practice. ANNAS believes the law has a bigger impact on medical ethics than does philosophy or medicine. For instance, he says because doctors are afraid of litigation, they often don't use sound medical judgement.
Ruth Macklin is an ethicist who helped develop a new philosophical approach to patient-focused care. She advocates for the informed consent model of medical treatment, and advises doctors and medical professionals on the best way to help resolve difficult issues, especially when their desires conflict with those of the patient.