Originally created 06/26/04

Medicine column was poorly reasoned



The June 10 Paul Campos column "Medical steps forward sadly put us all back" raises a number of important ethical questions. He claims that "modern medicine created" the social problems attendant with Alzheimer's and other geriatric diseases by increasing life expectancy. He also blames public health policy in America which he claims is based on the "assumption that the main point of life is to stay alive as long as possible."

He needs to evaluate the quality of his reasoning. Does he blame either agricultural research or restaurateurs for obesity and attendant social problems? Does he blame lawyers and our legal system for protecting such human life as may lead to social difficulty? Does he blame DNA for our survival instinct and its implications?

If medical or other science could identify DNA causes for Alzheimer's, would he suggest suicide or euthanasia policies to be followed before that DNA was expressed? What is his position on assisting HIV and AIDS cases?

Perhaps these kinds of questions have been around a long time, maybe surfacing first in the minds of prehistoric humans when the first crutch was allowed for a tribe member with a broken leg or such. So far, civilized people have generally favored survival and assisting those in need.

Given the wide range of moral and ethical issues which he might have chosen to explore, one wonders if he simply avoided those related to his own age group and his own profession.

Joseph B. Harris
Washington, Ga.