Do you wear seatbelts? If so, why?
Do you want your surgeon to wear a mask when you get your hip replaced? If so , why or why not?
Do germs exist?
If germs actually exist, who would know the most about germs–a politician or a scientist?
Is a plague a good or a bad thing?
If Trump had said from day one “Wear a mask!” would you be wearing one right now? (You know the answer to this question even if you can’t admit it to yourself.)
I could go on but you get the idea.
Here is a nice Q and A discussing some of the findings of our study of donor conceived individuals in Severance: On the Aftermath of Separation. For a sample, I’ve copied one of the questions below, along with my answer:
Could you summarize the most significant finding of the research?
When individuals discover later in life that they were conceived through donor technologies it can be earth shattering. Many of the folks we surveyed were dismayed and had their sense of self turned on its head. Additionally, many of our respondents thought about the nature of their conception every single day—a finding that is astounding given that most of us never give our conception much thought if any. Many ended up seeking psychological counseling as a result of their altered sense of self. Also, many were troubled to learn that money had been exchanged surrounding their conception.
I was lucky to meet Dani Shapiro through HMS Bioethics when she came to speak in a class I taught there about her book Inheritance. That meeting ultimately resulted in Josh North, Rennie Burke, Yvette Ollada, Gali Katznelson and I surveying individuals who were donor conceived about their thoughts, feelings, and reactions to finding out about the nature of their conception. We wrote up our findings here in the HMS Journal of Bioethics. Gali and I then wrote a blog on Psychology Today highlighting our findings. That blog is here.
I am so lucky and blessed to have crossed paths with all of these amazing people!
Delighted that the work that co-authors Shivam Singh and Farhad Udwadia and I did examining how much medical students in India are taught about human rights and conditions inside their own prisons. Our paper can be found here in the HMS Bioethics Journal and our corresponding blog piece can be found here.
As Nelson Mandela said, “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats it highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
It strikes me as impossibly difficult for individuals who lose loved ones to COVID. but whose politics make it hard (or impossible) for them to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID, to properly mourn their dead loved ones. Please send thoughts/anecdotes to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many people don’t know that individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody are regularly placed in solitary confinement (often termed “administrative or disciplinary segregation”) for extended periods of time, a horrific practice that Ellen Gallagher Esq. has bravely worked to bring to public attention. And now Ellen, Samara Fox, and I have a new piece in the U of Toronto Medical Journal discussing how, due to COVID, ICE has expanded the use of solitary confinement even more. Solitary confinement is tantamount to torture and humane societies do not employ or condone torture. The US ought to do better and be better. Will things improve under the new Biden administration? I am modestly hopeful but only time and evidence will tell.
We conclude our piece by stating, “Historically, the U.S. was seen as a beacon of light for immigrants seeking a better life. Given the Trump administration’s abdication of its ethical responsibilities, that light appears to have gone off. Let’s hope we can get the power back on soon.”
Here is another blog on Psychology Today authored by Jessica Tepper and myself.
We moved to Houston 3 months ago and just unpacked our last box last Saturday. This is my first letter in the Houston Chronicle. COVID or no, prison reform/decarceration for many who are currently being held is long overdue. The Chronicle edited out my last 2 sentences which stated that prisoners are the only population in the US that are guaranteed health care and that therefore anyone who supports the Constitution needs to get on board with decarceration during these COVID times. Not sure the link works so here is the text of the letter:
Do better, Texas
Regarding “Texas must do more to save prisoners” (A18, Nov 22): Kudos to the Houston Chronicle for its editorial. The United States incarcerates far more of its population than any other nation on earth — with Texas leading the way — so it was just a matter of time before COVID-19 infections would run rampant through prisons, exacting a toll inside prison walls that spills over into the population at large, including prison guards and their families.
Although some individuals have been released due to COVID-19, Texas can do far better and begin to release those who are being held pretrial and are unable to pay cash bail, as well as those who are most likely to develop complications from COVID-19 (individuals who are older or who have preexisting health conditions). Additionally, Texas ought to release individuals who are being held for minor offenses such as drug possession, who are disproportionately people of color. And finally, ending the use of for-profit prisons in Texas — and thereby eliminating the profit motive for keeping individuals in prison — will also promote efforts at early release.
J. Wesley Boyd, Bellaire
Once again delighted to have former students Zamina Mithani and Jane Cooper co-author a piece on bioethics and race. Our latest blog post on the topic is now live at the Emory Nueroethics site here. Bioethics needs to use its ever-increasing power and influence to shine a harsh light on systemic racism.