March 14, 2006

The American Journal of Bioethics Feb/March

The American Journal of Bioethics March-April issue has just been released, along with two special articles from the May-June issue.

The current issue is packed. It opens with an editorial by public health scholar Peter Levin and Glenn McGee on conflict of interest in the Cleveland Clinic, particularly the accusations of conflict of interest against two of the world's leading cardiologists, Eric Topol and Toby Cosgrove. Matt Wynia's Bioethics and Public Health column is a timely examination of "Risk and Trust in Public Health."

The cover is dedicated to bioethics in rural settings. William Nelson, Gili Lushkov, Andrew Pomerantz and William Weeks ask what is special about rural settings? Or to put it more pointedly, can methods and theories for thinking about bioethics that have their origins in Washington and New York and Chicago and Philadelphia really work in Montana? A small number of commentators, appropriately, answer the question, "is there a literature in rural health care ethics?" But their question is really a bigger one: how do we talk or write about bioethics in states in which one doctor for every 500 square miles is the average, or in towns where everyone is in one way or another related to such a degree that privacy doesn't exist and the idea of "strangers at the bedside" has no meaning? How can we talk in a rational way about the distribution of scarce healthcare resources across the U.S. when so many people live so far from a trauma center - or even a little hospital where Doc Hollywood takes pigs in trade for medicine - that to become truly sick is almost always to die.

Ken Kipnis defends the idea of unqualified medical confidentiality in our second target article, to the consternation of among other commentators Jessica Berg and Alexander Capron. It is a great collection, one no doubt destined for use in all sorts of settings where a comprehensive collection on the subject is required - from law school to med school to business school.

And in the first of a series of target article collections celebrating the classic literature of bioethics, a stellar group of scholars responds to the classic article by Edmund Pellegrino, incoming Chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, "Toward a Reconstruction of Medical Morality. Among other commentators are Bob Veatch, Rosamond Rhodes, Nuala Kenny, Joel Howell, Gail Geller, and Loretta Kopelman.

In Focus this issue: Judy Illes, Mildred Cho, Raymond DeVries and Pam Schraedley-Desmond lay out "ELSI Priorities for Brain Imaging." Hilde Lindemann writes of "Bioethics' Gender." Denise Dudzinski discusses "Compounding Vulnerability: Pregnancy and Schizophrenia." And Lisa Eckenwiler goes after the President's Council Report on Ethical Caregiving.

Book reviews this month - as we welcome our new book review editor (alongside Jessica Berg), Stephen Latham - come from Judith Daar who reviews Sheldon Krimsky's and Peter Shorett's book on a genetic bill of rights, and Paul Hughes reviews James Stacey's book arguing for a market in human body parts.

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