Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tom Koch on Bioethics, Oily-faced Edition

Okay, so Tom Koch thinks that, as a bioethicist, I'm an "oily-faced official worthy" who pretends to a care I don't deliver. Really, he does. Wait--does my face look shiny to you? Should I be worried?

Hmm. Maybe not. After all, Tom Koch also thinks that when we bioethicists argue that we're needed because the old ethics of medicine won't serve in the new world of advancing medical science and technology, we call that the "Georgetown Mantra." But when I google "Georgetown Mantra," I find people discussing somethng completely different!

And Tom Koch also thinks that bioethicists' "primary training is in philosophy, not biology, genetics, or medicine." He thinks this in spite of that fact that there are more physicians than philosophers on the current ASBH board, and more physicians than philosophers among the 200 or so Hastings Center Fellows. Maybe Tom Koch's beliefs are not all correct.

It's hard to tell, exactly, but Tom Koch seems also to think that bioethics has its roots in the "Regan" (sic) administration and its "postmodernist economics." I guess Tom Koch must think of the Hastings Center as a real field leader, being founded under Nixon and all.

And look! Tom Koch also thinks that "[b]ioethicists rarely work with patients," in spite of the fact that 100% of all US hospitals with over 400 beds, and 81% of all US hospitals regardless of size, have some kind of clinical ethics consultation service. It must be that Tom Koch thinks those clinical ethics consultants aren't bioethicists....

Wow! Tom Koch also thinks "some and perhaps many" bioethicists promote "a eugenic present and future, pruning the human tree, as "rational" by which is meant cost efficient." Some? Perhaps. Many?

Tom Koch also thinks that bioethics as a field has promoted a reductive consumerism in medicine, and has cast patients as consumers whose care ought to depend on their resources. I don't think we know the same people. Or read the same books. Or journals.

No, I'm not going to worry after all. Tom Koch doesn't seem to know much about bioethics, or about my skin--except how to get under it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stephen,

    I had much the same experience.


    He suggests I buy/read his book, but his piece in the Huffington Post is not a great sales pitch for those in the field ...