Life as an Extreme Sport

Patients, Academics, and the Conflict of “Risk of Harm”

On a recent Thursday, I had one of those odd convergence moments where my work life converged with my academic life: I attended a webinar on Protecting Patients from Harm: Ethical, Legal & Policy Responses to Domestic and International Marketing of Clinically Unproven Stem Cell Interventions. As usual with these sorts of talks, the really interesting stuff comes up in the audience question-and-answer period.[note]The audio is worth listening to just for a really good example of why it’s important that your webinar moderators understand what each speaker does, so that they properly aim the questions. Asking the stem cell researcher about ethics and the ethicist about lab assays was just weird and reflected badly on the webinar itself.[/note] One of the questions that was asked and not really answered to my satisfaction was the question of harm. In particular, the question is what’s the harm in allowing someone who is

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