New in the Hastings Center Report

December 01, 2016

Ethics of crowdfunding for medical care, an argument for fewer clinical trials, and more in the November-December 2016 issue.

Crowdfunding for Medical Care: Ethical Issues in an Emerging Health Care Funding Practice
Jeremy Snyder

Crowdfunding for medical care, which has become relatively common, has received a lot of media attention, but little has been written about the ethical issues that it raises. While the money can make an important difference in the lives of crowdfunding users, the author cites several ethical concerns, including the potential for fraud and misinformation by those seeking funds, the potential for worsening health care inequities, and a risk to users' privacy. Snyder, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University, argues that medical crowdfunding "is a symptom and cause of, rather than a solution to, health system injustices and that policy-makers should work to address the injustices motivating the use of crowdfunding sites for es¬sential medical services."

An Argument for Fewer Clinical Trials
Kirstin Borgerson

The quantity of published clinical research, much of it poor quality, has increased so much that physicians cannot keep up with it and patients are likely suffering. The author proposes that the number of clinical studies be reduced and that a way to do that would be for research ethics committees to permit only studies of high quality, meaning pragmatic trials that aim to provide evidence that directly supports clinical decision-making in usual care settings. Borgerson is an associate professor of philosophy at Dalhousie University in Canada.

Also in this issue: "What Pacemakers Can Teach Us about the Ethics of Maintaining Artificial Organs," At Law ("International Perspectives on Physician Assistance in Dying"), and Policy & Politics ("Religious Hospitals and Patient Choice").
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The Hastings Center

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