Faculty bioethics day 2/2

II – Professionalism

“Not the casual observer: What happens when medical students encounter unethical conduct during clinical rotations?”
Maya Jaffer

This talk was given by a sixth year medical student who had an interest in bioethics. This talk talked about the ethical conduct of students and how it changed during their medical career and the possible reasons and responses to the situations. Continue reading


Problems with circumcision and HIV/AIDS

When I blogged about the German court ruling on circumcision I said that there was evidence that circumcision reduced the risk of HIV/AIDS infection. I may have been a bit premature.

I haven’t read the papers but had my own problem with the idea. If you tell someone it will reduce their risk then they’re more likely to take the risk. After my post I heard from a colleague of mine who has read the paper that at least one of the trials was flawed because those undergoing circumcision where educated on safe sex practices while the others were not. This means they weren’t equal from the start.

Both those issues and more are brought up in this blog post from an Oxford ethicist. In short the studies are described as:

Poorly conducted experiments with dubious results presented in an outrageously misleading fashion.

Religious freedom does not extend to mutilating babies

While I believe in religious freedom, that is that everyone is free to believe what they will, the practice of those beliefs is permitted only when they do not infringe on the rights of others. A court in Germany has finally taken that seriously and declared that circumcision of children is bodily harm. If your religion wants you to be circumcised then that is your choice. However, a baby has not chosen their religion and you do not have the right to force your religious beliefs on your child. Furthermore the baby is not able to consent to the surgery. It can only be religion that could convince people that removing parts of the body with no consent is perfectly acceptable practice. Continue reading