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עמוד בית
Tue, 25.06.24

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February 2024
Yoad M. Dvir, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

In the grand theater of modern medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) has swiped the lead role, with a performance so riveting it deserves an Oscar, or at least a Nobel. From the intricate labyrinths of our arteries to the profound depths of our peepers, AI is the new maestro, conducting symphonies of data with the finesse of a seasoned virtuoso [1,2].

August 2022
Jonathan D. Cohen MBBCh FCP (SA), Eyal Katvan PhD LLM LLB, and Tamar Ashkenazi PhD RN

Background: Changes accommodating requirements of religious authorities in Israel resulted in the Brain and Respiratory Death Determination Law (BRDDL), which came into effect in 2009. These included considering patient wishes regarding the brain respiratory death determination (BRDD), mandatory performance of apnea and ancillary testing, establishment of an accreditation committee, and accreditation required for physicians performing BRDD.

Objectives: To assess the impact of the legislation from 2010–2019.

Methods: Data collected included the number of formal BRDDs and accredited physicians. Obstacles to declaring brain death and interventions applied were identified.

Results: Obstacles included lack of trained physicians to perform BRDD and interpret ancillary test results, inability to perform apnea or ancillary testing, and non-approach to next-of-kin objecting to BRDD. Interventions included physician training courses, additional ancillary test options, and legal interpretation of patient wishes for non-determination of BRD. As a result, the number of non-determinations related to next-of-kin objecting decreased (26 in 2010 to 5 in 2019), inability to perform apnea or ancillary testing decreased (33 in 2010 to 2 in 2019), and number of physicians receiving accreditation increased (210 in 2010 to 456 in 2019). Last, the consent rate for organ donation increased from 49% to 60% in 2019.

Conclusions: The initial decrease in BRDDs has reversed, thus enabling more approaches for organ donation. The increased consent rate may reflect in part the support of the rabbinate and confidence of the general public that BRDD is performed and monitored according to strict criteria.

February 2022
May 2021
Yechiel Michael Barilan

This focus article is a theoretical reflection on the ethics of allocating respirators to patients in circumstances of shortage, especially during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Israel. In this article, respirators are placeholders for similar life-saving modalities in short supply, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines and intensive care unit beds.

In the article, I propose a system of triage for circumstances of scarcity of respirators. The system separates the hopeless from the curable, granting every treatable person a real chance of cure. The scarcity situation eliminates excesses of medicine, and then allocates respirators by a single scale, combining an evidence-based scoring system with risk-proportionate lottery.

The triage proposed embodies continuity and consistency with the healthcare practices in ordinary times. Yet, I suggest two regulatory modifications: one in relation to expediting review of novel and makeshift solutions and the second in relation to mandatory retrospective research on all relevant medical data and standard (as opposed to experimental) interventions that are influenced by the triage

March 2021
George M. Weisz MD FRACS BA MA and Andrew Gal BSc (Med) MBBS FRCPA

Germany was a scientifically advanced country in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in medicine, with a major interest in research and the treatment of tuberculosis. From 1933 until 1945, Nazi Germany perverted scientific research through criminal experimentations on captured prisoners of war and on "subhumans" by scientifically untrained, but politically driven, staff. This article exposes a series of failed experiments on tuberculosis in adults, experiments without scientific validity. Nonetheless, Dr. Kurt Heißmeyer repeated the experiment on Jewish children, who were murdered for the sake of personal academic ambition. It is now 75 years since liberation and the murdered children must be remembered. This observational review raises questions of medical and ethical values

September 2017
Sody A Naimer MD and Edward Fram MA MPhil PhD

Background: Maternal cardiac arrest during gestation constitutes a devastating event. Training and anticipant preparedness for prompt action in such cases may save the lives of both the woman and her fetus. 

Objectives: To address a previous Jewish guideline that a woman in advanced pregnancy should not undergo any medical procedure to save the fetus until her condition is stabilized. 

Methods: Current evidence on perimortal cesarean section shows that immediate section during resuscitation provides restoration of the integrity of the mother’s vascular compartment and increases her probability of survival. We analyzed Jewish scriptures from the Talmud and verdicts of the oral law and revealed that the Jewish ethical approach toward late gestational resuscitation was discouraged since it may jeopardize the mother. 

Results: We discuss the pertinent Jewish principles and their application in light of emerging scientific literature on this topic. An example case that led to an early perimortem cesarean delivery and brought about a gratifying, albeit only partially satisfying outcome, is presented, albeit with only a partially satisfying outcome. The arguments that were raised are relevant to such cases and suggest that previous judgments should be reconsidered.  

Conclusions: The Jewish perspective can guide medical personnel to modify and adapt the concrete rules to diverse clinical scenarios in light of current medical knowledge. With scientific data showing that both mother and fetus can prosper from immediate surgical extrication of the baby during resuscitation of the advanced pregnant woman, these morals should dictate training and practice in urgent perimortal cesarean sections whenever feasible. 

 

October 2016
Shimon M. Glick MD

Jewish medical ethics is a term coined by the late Lord Rabbi Immanuel Jacobovits in the mid-20th century. Its principles and emphases differ in some significant ways from the currently accepted axioms in Western secular ethics. The emphasis is lesser on autonomy and more on the value of human life and on communitarianism. The Israel Patient's Rights Law reflects these differences from the Western norms.

August 2016
Tal Bergman-Levy MD MHA, Oren Asman LLB LLM LLD, Eyal Dahan MD, Binyamin Greenberg MD, Shmuel Hirshmann MD and Rael Strous MD MHA

Background: In Israel a general code of ethics exists for physicians, drafted by the Israel Medical Association. The question arises whether psychiatrists require a separate set of ethical guidelines.

Objectives: To examine the positions of Israeli psychiatrists with regard to ethics in general and professional ethics in particular, and to explore opinions regarding a code of ethics or ethical guidelines for psychiatry. 

Methods: A specially designed questionnaire was compiled and completed by psychiatrists recruited for the study. 

Results: Most participants reported low levels of perceived knowledge regarding ethics, professional ethics, and the general code of ethics. Older and more experienced professionals reported a higher level of knowledge. Most psychiatrists agreed or strongly agreed with the need for a distinct code of ethics/ethical guidelines for psychiatrists. This support was significantly higher among both psychiatrists under 50 years and residents. 

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the existing code of ethics and position papers may not be sufficient, indicating a potential need to develop and implement a process to create the ethical code itself. In addition, the findings highlight the importance of ethics education, suggesting that the need for a code of ethics is more urgent in the early stages of professional training, as younger professionals may be more exposed to advanced media technology. While some may fear that a distinct code of ethics will distance psychiatry from modern medicine, others assert that the profession combines aspects from the humanities and social sciences that require a unique sort of management and thus this profession requires a distinct code of ethics.

 

May 2016
Esteban González-López MD PhD and Rosa Ríos-Cortés MA

During the Nazi period, numerous doctors and nurses played a nefarious role. In Germany they were responsible for the sterilization and killing of disabled persons. Furthermore, the Nazi doctors used concentration camp inmates as guinea pigs in medical experiments for military or racial purposes. A study of the collaboration of doctors with National Socialism exemplifies behavior that must be avoided. Combining medical teaching with lessons from the Holocaust could be a way to transmit Medical Ethics to doctors, nurses and students. The authors describe a study tour with medical students to Poland, to the largest Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz, and to the city of Krakow. The tour is the final component of a formal course entitled: “The Holocaust, a Reflection from Medicine” at the Autónoma University of Madrid, Spain. Visiting sites related to the Holocaust, the killing centers and the sites where medical experiments were conducted has a singular meaning for medical students. Tolerance, non-discrimination, and the value of human life can be both learnt and taught at the very place where such values were utterly absent.

February 2013
A. Jotkowitz
 Throughout history religious figures have been intimately involved in caring for the sick. Not only have they prayed for the welfare of the sick and arranged for their care but in many instances provided medical care as well. With the advent of scientific medicine, the responsibility for medical care was transferred to trained physicians. A new phenomenon has recently emerged in Israel that has threatened this ‘division of labor’ between physicians and rabbis, namely, the establishment of medical navigation organizations. Medical navigation can improve access to highly specialized care and help build trust between doctors and patients. However, this system is accompanied by numerous ethical and professional difficulties. For example, it is not clear how referrals are made and to what extent the system should be regulated. The phenomenon needs to be further studied to determine its prevalence in Israeli society as well as its impact on the practice of medicine from the perspective of both physicians and patients.

January 2013
A.Z. Zivotofsky and A. Jotkowitz
A.J. Jacobs
 Infant circumcision has recently attracted controversy, with professional groups recommending it and various individuals trying to criminalize it. Circumcision is beneficial in the prevention of certain diseases, causing minimal tangible harm to those circumcised. This article argues that government should affirmatively adopt policies tolerating minority practices. Such activities should be banned only if they cause substantial damage to society or its members, or if they engender risks or injuries to which no reasonable person would consent. The benefits and risks of circumcision are outlined. Circumcision of male infants does not trigger cause for government to abolish it, and should be permitted if parents desire it. This article also summarizes common arguments against circumcision and attempts to refute them. These arguments are based on a desire for gender equality as well as a belief that minors should not undergo elective bodily alteration. If there are no unusual risks, parents can ethically authorize, and physicians ethically perform, elective infant circumcision for prophylaxis of disease, ritual purposes, or aesthetic reasons. Furthermore, the state should permit this.

 

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