The story of two doctors, a father and son, who practiced in very different times and the evolution of the ethics that profoundly influence healthcare.
As a practicing physician and longtime member of his hospital’s ethics committee, Dr. Barron Lerner thought he had heard it all. But in the mid-1990s, his father, an infectious diseases physician, told him a stunning story: he had physically placed his body over an end-stage patient who had stopped breathing, preventing his colleagues from performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, even though CPR was the ethically and legally accepted thing to do. Over the next few years, the senior Dr. Lerner tried to speed the deaths of his seriously ill mother and mother-in-law to spare them further suffering.
These stories angered and alarmed the younger Dr. Lerner—an internist, historian of medicine, and bioethicist—who had rejected physician-based paternalism in favor of informed consent and patient autonomy. The Good Doctor is a fascinating and moving account of how Dr. Lerner came to terms with two very different images of his father: a revered clinician, teacher, and researcher who always put his patients first, but also a physician willing to “play God,” opposing the very revolution in patients’ rights that his son was studying and teaching to his own medical students.
But the elder Dr. Lerner’s journals, which he had kept for decades, showed the son how the father’s outdated paternalism had grown out of a fierce devotion to patient-centered medicine, which was rapidly disappearing. And they raised questions: Are paternalistic doctors just relics, or should their expertise be used to overrule patients and families that make ill-advised choices? Does the growing use of personalized medicine—in which specific interventions may be best for specific patients—change the calculus between autonomy and paternalism? And how can we best use technologies that were invented to save lives but now too often prolong death? In an era of high-technology medicine, spiraling costs, and health-care reform, these questions could not be more relevant.
As his father slowly died of Parkinson’s disease, Barron Lerner faced these questions both personally and professionally. He found himself being pulled into his dad’s medical care, even though he had criticized his father for making medical decisions for his relatives. Did playing God—at least in some situations—actually make sense? Did doctors sometimes “know best”?
Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man. Huddling in a graveyard for warmth, Sam and Lizzie are horrified to see the earth around one of the tombs begin to shift, shortly followed by the wraithlike figure of a ghostly man. He warns Sam about the future which awaits such a bitter heart, and so begins Sam’s journey led by terrifying spirits through the past, present and future…
This is a brilliant twist on A Christmas Carol – a quick read to get you in the mood for the Festive Season!
Know your stuff at this Friday’s 6.2 lecture and have a read of this Very Short Introduction to the European Union.
Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . .
Laura Bates gave an excellent talk about her Everyday Sexism Project this week at Radley. Such an inspiration! Here’s (very briefly) how it came about:
In 2012, Ms Bates, frustrated by a particularly bad week of sexual harassment towards herself, took to the Internet to see whether any other women had had similar experiences.
Hoping to get a few dozen other testimonies in order to raise awareness, she was staggered to receive over 50,000 stories of everyday sexism from women of all ages, social spheres and ethnic backgrounds within the first year and a half of going live.
Everyday sexism is essential reading for anyone who is unsure about the meaning of feminism and/or anyone still in doubt over the extent and effect of sexism not just on girls and women but also on boys, men and, crucially, our society as a whole.
To find out more, please go to: https://everydaysexism.com/
The Ten Types of Human: A New Understanding of Who We Are, and Who We Can Be
By Dexter Dias