New Hashtag, Nursing Ethics – Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of August 25, 2014)

SL09: SLUM: Nursing Class

There is never a shortage of great healthcare hashtags, chats, events, etcetera on Twitter, and new ones appear all the time. Nursing Ethics is an emerging hashtag which is a regular Twitter chat, but gained special attention over the past week with the Nursing Ethics Summit. There is a very active and engaged nursing community on Twitter, much of it centered around #NurseUp. The Twitter nursing community is of value for talking about professional concerns and sharing professional articles and information, problems and solutions, with a great deal of potential for nursing education. Here are just a few highlights from this newest addition to the nursing hashtags.

Bioethicists Go to Hollywood; Gives Injection of Bioethics Reality!

Have you all noticed the recent movies and TV shows that revolve heavily around bioethics? I’m thinking of World War Z and Grey’s Anatomy in particular but there are several examples in recent history. These story lines tend revolve around the gray areas in medicine and information science, and generate a great deal of conversation on controversial issues.

NPR ran an article on a group of Johns Hopkins bioethics professionals that went to Hollywood in October to have a dialogue on bioethics and how it can be accurately applied in media. According to Rich Loverd, head of the exchange, media producers and ethicists are a true meeting of the times:

“Storytellers really enjoy working at the edge of the bell curve,” he tells Shots. “Where it’s unclear where the right answer is and there’s moral ambiguity. Thinking about bioethics really engages an audience about thinking about the future.”

Their conversation revolved around three major topics:

  1. Allocating scarce health resources
  2. Human enhancements, ranging from vaccinations to genetic engineering
  3. Privacy and health data potential benefits and costs

I have a real soft spot for interdisciplinary work and cooperative discussion of complicated issues, and it is  interesting and exciting that the movies and TV shows presented to our society are taking steps to make sure they’re accurately portraying the nuanced and complicated issues surrounding bioethics.  In my opinion, each individual needs to have a philosophical standpoint on each of these issues, and mass media can help to stimulate the conversation.

If you’re interested in more information on bioethics in the media, check out, a website totally devoted to the area.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Stem Cells, Cloning and Publishing, Oh My! (Week of May 20, 2013)

I’m sure most of our readers know that a groundbreaking article was published on May 15th regarding patient specific stem cell cloning. What has come to light since then about the publishing process for the article has been slightly disturbing. First, I looked at the original announcements and information about stem cell research, then I went on to explore issues surrounding science communication and scholarly publishing. It all started (as far as I could tell) with this announcement:

This immediately lead to ethical and policy questions being raised. Many discussions were found on the following hashtags #bioethics, #stemcell, #stemcells, and #cloning.

What we found out this week was that the paper was pushed through the publication process so quickly that some (minor) mistakes were found through post-publication peer review including a manipulated image. These conversations are still unfolding.

This has lent some steam to the conversations that were already focused on the publishing process and its role in research, faculty status, and science communication.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Naming and Shaming (Week of March 25, 2013)

I was amazed (and a little horrified) by the number of stories having to do with ethics in science over the last week.  As a student at the School of Information, we heard quite a bit about the incident of public shaming and resulting fallout from PyCon (a conference about the Python programming language).  There was a lot of scuttlebutt and some serious discussion about the role of sexism in STEM. On the heels of this came the “revelation” that the I F*cking Love Science (IFLS) blog was run by *gasp* a woman!  Twitter was absolutely flooded with posts about #science, #ethics and #sexism.

Around the same time these issues were being discussed, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory at Heidelberg published a paper which released the full genomic sequencing of a strain of commonly used HeLa cells, as noted by Forbes. This brought up questions about personal genomics and privacy. You can follow this conversation on the following hashtags #HeLa, #privacy, #bioethics, #genomics.

And, to add a strange twist to our ethics discussions this week, Australian scientists have been able to resurrect an extinct frog as part of the Lazarus Project, while researchers in the US attempt to bring back the carrier pigeon. Both of these #deextinction initiatives have gotten Twitter talking about wooly mammoths and Jurassic Park.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): Ethics and Politics (Week of February 11, 2013)

This week was packed with news stories and events that have implications for health care, research, funding, and science writing.  Tuesday sparked two major discussions on Twitter.  The first was regarding the speech given by Jonah Lehrer (former journalist at The New Yorker and science writer) at a media learning seminar for which he was paid $20,000 by the Knight Foundation.  As explained by Scientific American, this speech was expected to be a sincere apology and explanation of his actions after being caught plagiarizing and fabricating quotes in his writing both at The New Yorker and in his books.  Instead, the disgraced journalist proceeded to explain his actions in terms such as, “For some cognitive biases, being smart, having a high IQ, can make you more vulnerable to them.”  Understandably, science writers took umbrage and started the hashtag #worth20K to highlight science writing and journalistic efforts worthy of being paid $20,000.

This brought up questions of professional ethics, and another hashtag that comes up when science and health collide #bioethics.

The second major news event of Tuesday was the State of the Union (SOTU) Address.  The importance of funding science and research initiatives was highlighted in the President’s speech and Twitter took a closer look at those issues.  These tweets came from a variety of tags including #SOTU and #science.

Part of the conversation around SOTU focused on the Affordable Care Act and peeking out were some health and technology issues that showed up in #HealthIT.

On the topic of health and technology, is this weekend’s #TEDxManhattan.  TEDx are independently organized Technology, Education, and Design conferences based on the same format as the original TED conferences.  The topic for this particular conference is “Changing the Way We Eat.”  TEDxManhattan will be streamed via the internet, and live tweeted via the #TEDxManhattan and #TEDxMan hashtags.

And if you want to chat about sustainable foods a little closer to home:

Jerome Groopman & Pamela Hartzband to give Bishop Lecture in in Bioethics May 10

The CBSSM Research Colloquium and Bishop Lecture in Bioethics will  feature   Jerome Groopman, MD, and Pamela Hartzband, MD, co-authors of the bestselling 2011 book Your Medical Mind, who will present the Bishop Lecture, “When experts disagree: The art of medical decision making.”    .  

  • Date:  10 May
  • Time:  10:30-12:00
  • Location:  Kahn Auditorium, Biomedical Research Bldg.

Registration for the Bishop Lecture & information on the research colloqium in the morning & afternoon can be found here:

Asian Bioethics Review

Interested in bioethics, especially in a global context?  Take a look at the Asian Bioethics Review, published by the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the National University of Singapore, an academic journal that focuses especially on issues relevant to the region. This month’s table of contents includes:

Confucian Reflective Equilibrium: Why Principlism Is Misleading for Chinese Bioethical Decision-Making by Fan Ruiping

ABR First Prize winning paper
The Kerala Experience in Palliative Care: An Ethical Exploration from the Public Health Perspective by Aneena Anna Abraham and V. Jithesh

ABR Second Prize winning paper
Examining the Protection of Group’s Interest under Taiwan’s Human Biobank Management Act by Lin Jui-Chu and Liao Chia-Cheng

Korean Experience of Withholding and Withdrawing of Life-Sustaining Therapy in Intensive Care Units by Jae Young Moon and Younsuck Koh

Safety and Neuroethical Consideration of Deep Brain Stimulation as Psychiatric or Dementia Treatment by Miyako Takagi

Student Voices
Inconsistency, Increased Viability and Pre-Infants: A Legal Inquiry into the Donation of Aborted Foetuses in Stem Cell Research by F. Elias Boujaoude

Conflict of Interest: A Major Obstacle to Preserving Scientific Integrity by Lik Chern Melvin Tan

Book Review
Alastair Campbell reviews Japan’s Wartime Medical Atrocities:  Comparative Inquiries in Science, History, and Ethics, edited by Nie Jing-Bao, Guo Nanyan, Mark Selden and Arthur Kleinman

Creation, Ontology, and Refusal in an Oncology Ward

Julie Livingston of Rutgers University will present a talk based on research she undertook in Botswana, in one of Africa’s few public oncology settings, to to track how cancer is created between patients and the oncologist.

“In Botswana’s central referral hospital, a lone oncologist handles all outpatient oncology, directs a 20-bed ward, and doubles as cytologist and at times radiographer.  The oncologist continually tacks back and forth between different kinds of first-hand knowledge, creating  cancer and the cancer patient in multiple registers simultaneously, rather than in a series of disconnected or abstracted parts as is the case in a larger oncology setting, with a more complex division of labor.”

  • Monday, 5 March 2012
  • 4:00–5:30 pm
  • 1014 Tisch Hall

This lecture is part of the Science, Technology, Medicine & Society Speaker Series.  For more information, go to



EXHIBIT: Deadly Medicine – Creating the Master Race

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder and, ultimately, genocide.“Deadly Medicineexplores the Holocaust’s roots in then-contemporary scientific and pseudo-scientific thought,” explains exhibition curator Susan Bachrach. “At the same time, it touches on complex ethical issues we face today, such as how societies acquire and use scientific knowledge and how they balance the rights of the individual with the needs of the larger community. We are pleased to be bringing this important exhibition to the United Nations and an international audience.”

This version of Deadly Medicine is based on the acclaimed exhibition of the same name that originally opened at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in April 2004.

Deadly Medicine will be on view from February 3 through April 13, 2012 in the Taubman Health Sciences Library.  Visiti the exhibit web site for more information.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Taubman Health Sciences Library and the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine.

Medical Safety Net for Undocumented Patients

Via news Updates and Science Daily:  The Hastings Center, supported by a grant by the Overbrook Foundation Domestic Human Rights Program, is exploring the ethical challenges that clinicians and organizations face when providing medical care to undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“Health care professionals can be deeply troubled when they encounter situations that seem unfair,” says Nancy Berlinger, a Hastings Center scholar who is co-director of the project. “How to provide good care to patients who cannot afford to pay for care is one of those situations. When a patient is also undocumented, the situation becomes even more complex. This project aims to help clinicians and organizations by exploring the difficult questions of how ethical obligations compete with economic constraints, conflicting mandates, and political considerations.”

To read the complete story, click here.