Bioethicists, ASBH2020, and a Lack of…Well, Ethics
As some people are aware, I have been off the internet since the end of September, when a novel health issue required I begin a (relatively long) diagnosis process. Part of that diagnosis process is minimizing stress; I was ordered to stop work almost immediately, told I couldn’t expand my physical therapy past what I was doing, and had it strongly suggested I stay off social media. A “limited stress diet,” as one of my physicians put it.
I’ve gone through a bunch of tests, and am in the “do they need more tests?” wait and see portion of the diagnostic process, which has also brought with it a new and exciting medicine regimen. All of this should be familiar to anyone who has endured diagnosis by exclusion–or trial and error.
So all said, I shouldn’t be writing this. It is, after all, the internet. But I’m hoping the lack of interaction with others makes this more like YouTube, which is “okay,” and less like Twitter, which is decidedly interactive and not okay.
And what I definitely should not have done? Check the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities annual meeting program. Very little good can ever come from that, although a lot of irritation certainly can–and in my case, a lot of irritation can have a pretty seriously negative health impact right now. So let me be the first to say: I should have listened to my doctor.
But I didn’t. Instead I browsed the program, got pretty irritated at quite a bit… and then found an ASBH session that at least on the face of it appears to be lifted from a conversation I had with an author earlier this year about my objection to their recently published paper, based on an entire body of literature the authors were unfamiliar with. A body of literature I provided references to. Including the faculty profile page of the researcher behind that body of literature.
There was no courtesy FYI; no “hey, would you like to be involved;” “hey, do you mind if I;” no nothing. I wouldn’t have known about it if I hadn’t stumbled across it… which, I guess may qualify as actually ironic, and certainly belongs with a Jagged Little Pill. And while it is certainly possible that the panel was someone else’s idea and the bioethicist I spoke to about it was approached independently, if that happened to you, wouldn’t you at least say “oh hey, I should totally let the person who brought this novel idea to my attention know about all of this, just so they don’t think I intentionally left them out”? Or is that just me and my weird insistence on giving credit where due?
As salty as I am–no, as hurt as I am that someone I thought I could trust would do that to me, would ask why I objected to something and then take my explanations for their own benefit–I can’t even pretend that this is the first time this has happened. THIS YEAR. It’s like the 5th or 6th. It seems that while journal editors don’t want to publish my ideas when they come from me, they are perfectly happy to publish them if it comes from a Name. And these Names don’t appear interested in asking if I’d like to work with them, and can’t even be arsed to thank me in acknowledgements. Honestly, I question why I even have extended trust in the first place–after all, if I learned anything in 2008, it’s that people in bioethics will put their careers first, and should absolutely not be trusted, to any degree.
There seems to be only one solution here, and that’s to stop discussing my bioethics-related ideas with bioethicists. Unfortunately, DMs and eMails certainly aren’t proof enough for theft of ideas accusations–there’s a reason I’m not naming names here–and so my best bet, if I want to continue engaging in public acts of bioethics, is blogging here where there’s at least a public timestamp …or just not engaging in bioethics publicly anymore. Because let’s be honest, I’m not sure a blog post in the public domain would stop people from taking my ideas and passing them off as their own.
A rather telling commentary about bioethics as a field, isn’t it?