Life as an Extreme Sport

The Watcher Eternally Watching [August 15]

Sitting in the cafeteria is an interesting experience. Attendings and residents mix with patients and the still obviously nervous interns; the intern nervously asks for permission to do a procedure and gets the okay, while only two feet away a doc asks how a woman in a wheelchair and on a drip is doing, and obviously delighted to see her eating. Pocketed here and there are the numerous support staff that are necessary for the hospital to run, and sitting in the middle of this swirl of talk and activity, I sit and watch. There has been an emphasis on bioethicists as mediators, listeners, but also watchers. People in the background, looming quiet but a promise that should there be a need, they’ll step in. To wear my geek-hat for a moment, sort of like the Organians in the original Star Trek. Keeping the peace. Negotiating borders and boundaries between

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Change Happens [August 14]

This morning we’re starting out with Bob Baker and the Hippocratic Oath. Again, on the oath, but from a different perspective this time, which should be interesting to hear. My education has largely conformed to what Bob Veatch taught the prior week, which I suppose makes sense when you consider who my teachers were. Stepping outside that lineage for a differing point of view is very CHID, and should be educational, at the very least, if not also entertaining. Baker is talking about why we should still pay attention to the Hippocratic Oath, and why the history of medical ethics is important; which I’m not sure I understood Bob Veatch to say was not important, last week, but he gave us a lot of information, so I might have missed it. Or simply discounted it; as a history person (albeit a weird one), the idea of discounting the history of

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Fleeting Lightning Bugs [August 12-13]

It’s been a long week. I was supposed to go out this weekend with some people I’ve recently met, but opted instead to spend most of the day at Borders, using the wireless connection and trying to find my roots. Trying to laugh. I know it’s cliché, but wow – people are different back here. I’ve always thought that the idea of the abrasive, confrontational New Yorker was, well, fiction. Something that might have been a relic from an earlier time, taken by writers and comedians and ran with. I would be wrong in that assumption. I fit the West Coast – laid back, relaxed, not terribly concerned with protocol. Although I think I’ve surfed maybe three times in my life, I feel like the out of place surfer moved somewhere strange and landlocked, sticking out like a sore thumb, wanting to go back where everything is familiar. Where I

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Cultural Ethics [August 11]

Sue’s lecture today comes at a timely period, when we begin to discuss the idea of testing pharmaceuticals on captured populations, quite literally: prison populations. Of course, AJOB itself, in its most recent issue, has an article discussing equipoise in research, and the idea of testing on indigenous populations being ethical because it would do them good to get at least the established, beneficial drug. I’ll spare you my thoughts on that AJOB article’s argument at the moment, and instead focus back on what Sue talked about, which was drug trials, and specifically (of course) Nazi experimentation. Of course everyone knows that the results of the Nazi experimentation was the trial of 25 Nazi personnel, and the establishment of the Nuremburg Code – a code that, somewhat ironically, was first adopted in the United States by the US military (I believe the Navy first, although they were so quickly in

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The Plural of Anecdote is not Data [August 11]

Today Bob finished his lecturing, wrapping up the four distinctions in avoiding killing, and running through the different states of competence in patients. It was technical in rattling off lists fashion – he was obviously in a hurry to finish his data – and there wasn’t a lot of deliberative information. Of course, I suppose in part I feel this way because I’ve had Bob’s texts assigned in the part, and none of this information is particularly new – I’ve debated and argued over it, and honestly don’t remember a lot of the debate. Nor did I find there much today; Bob ignored a lot of questions in order to move forward, and those that were asked were along the line of challenging his authority to even explain the distinctions and his knowledge of philosophy, the sort of questions that just make me groan and wish I was in another

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