Sunday, June 8, 2008

Health Law Conference

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a Health Law conference for professors (I got a special registration) held at Drexel University. It was quite interesting, though I was not able to attend too many of the sessions. Either way most of it would have been legal jargon and over my head, but it is nice to think of lawyers as something other than blood sucking parasites that ruin doctors' lives, as they are usually portrayed. Rather, it seems that most lawyers in the health field genuinely care about patient care, human rights, and global health just like physicians and nurses do. They ponder deeply about bioethics and new and emerging problems, sculpting the law to be able to tackle these novel issues. What I found most interesting yesterday was something that I had heard about in the news but only really heard in detail about yesterday during one of the plenaries. Supposedly, many people have been requesting voluntary amputations of either their legs or arms for reasons such as "it doesn't feel right on my body" or "I would feel freer without it". Is it legal and ethical for a surgeon to provide such a service? It is similar to part of the testimony delivered in Roe v. Wade, since home abortions were extremely dangerous and attempted far too routinely. One can only imagine the horrors of a botched home amputation.

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