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Insert Comma • A Portfolio of Leigh E. Rich
Categories: Books, Ethics, Health, Politics, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Lessons From the Death Zone

What Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” Can Teach Us About the COVID-19 Pandemic and Why We May Be Doomed to Repeat It Leigh E. Rich Abstract Book chapter for the edited volume The Twenty-First Century and Its Discontents examining the novel coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. response through the lens of Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book, […]

Categories: Ethics, Feminism, Health, History, Law, Media, Philosophy, Politics, Television, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on “Men Against Fire”

The bureaucratization of dehumanization is nothing new. Examples can be found in many eras and places and during both wartime and peace. Modern warfare, however, has meant innovations in the techniques of killing as well as the “framing” of those being killed, whether accomplished by separating the act through distance or technology or training soldiers (and the public) to “see” the enemy differently. The U.K. anthology series Black Mirror revisits this question in an episode titled “Men Against Fire,” a direct reference to S.L.A. Marshall’s controversial 1947 book of the same name, Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command. Marshall observed the battlefield as a lonely and traumatic place and portrayed this isolation—and an individual’s moral upbringing—for soldiers’ hesitancy to fire on an enemy, even when ordered or in danger of losing their own lives. What was needed, according to Marshall, were “well-trained foot soldiers” freed from such burdens. While bureaucratic techniques that dehumanize or obscure the Other can be particularly “useful” in war, they are perhaps more insidious beyond the bounds of war. Primary examples include Jim Crow and eugenics, with reverberations of both still felt today. Examining the Black Mirror episode, not in relation to war or Marshall but when men are not “against fire,” sheds light on why health disparities and other inequities persist and the need for movements like Black Lives Matter or new waves of feminism. In civil society, the “problem of battle command” has been understood by certain policymakers and powerbrokers as a hesitancy to limit safety nets (“entitlements”) or reproductive and civil freedoms of the “undeserving” in the name of protecting the financial and corporeal health of the social body. Viewing “Men Against Fire” through examples such as eugenic thinking reveals how discriminatory rhetoric against poor, minority, and other stigmatized populations has lingered during peacetime through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Unlike Marshall’s conclusion, the answer to ending such policies and practices is rooted not in overcoming a sense of morality but engaging in it.

Categories: Books, Editorials, Ethics, Health, Media, Politics, Science, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Prestidigitation vs. public trust

Or how we can learn to change the conversation and prevent powers from “organizing the discontent” By Leigh E. Rich When Drs. Silvia Camporesi, Mark Davis, and Maria Vaccarella (2017) approached the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry about a symposium on “Public Trust in Expert Knowledge” as well as a panel session at the October 2016 […]

Categories: Editorials, Ethics, Health, People, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on “Born like this / Into this”

Tuberculosis, justice, and futuristic dinosaurs By Leigh E. Rich I was born of disease. Not in the same circumstances as too many still today and so many others in the past, but my existence—or at least key narratives from life courses entwined with my existence—are rooted in disease. Had it not been for the “Spanish […]

Categories: Ethics, Health, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Nurses’ perspectives and medical errors

There is often a mismatch between patients’ desire to be informed about errors and clinical reality. In closing the “disclosure gap” an understanding of the views of all members of the healthcare team regarding errors and their disclosure to patients is needed. However, international research on nurses’ views regarding this issue is currently limited. The objectives of this study involved exploring nurses’ attitudes and experiences in hospitals in two German-speaking cantons in Switzerland concerning disclosing errors to patients and perceived barriers to disclosure. Nurses generally thought that patients should be informed about every error, but only a very few nurses actually reported disclosing errors in practice. Indeed, many nurses reported that most errors are not disclosed to the patient. Nurses identified a number of barriers to error disclosure that have already been reported in the literature among all clinicians, such as legal consequences and the fear of losing patients’ trust. However, nurses in this study more frequently reported personal characteristics and a lack of guidance from the organisation as barriers to disclosure. Both issues suggest the need for a systematic institutional approach to error disclosure in which the decision to inform the patient stems from within the organisation and is not shouldered by individual nurses alone. Our study suggests that hospitals need to do more to support and train nurses in relation to error disclosure. Such measures as hospitals establishing a disclosure support system, providing background disclosure education, ensuring that disclosure coaching is available at all times, and providing emotional support for all parties involved, would likely go a long way to address the barriers identified by nurses.

Categories: Editorials, Education, Ethics, Health, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on “Leapin’ lizards, Mr. Science”

Old reflections on the New Archaeology (and musings on anthropology, art, bioethics, and medicine) By Leigh E. Rich Perhaps my favourite class as a graduate student in anthropology was an elective taught by the chair of our department, an immensely affable man who, despite his stature in the discipline and successes as a scholar, was […]

Categories: Editorials, Ethics, Health, Humor, Media, Politics, Social Science, Television, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on “Can a company be bitchy?”

Corporate (and political and scientific) social responsibility By Leigh E. Rich and Michael A. Ashby PHIL: Oh, God, Lem. You’re using science for no good. We took an oath we would try to do that less (Better Off Ted 2009a, “Bioshuffle,” episode 109). The American sitcom Better Off Ted (whose second and final season was […]

Categories: Editorials, Ethics, Health, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Intergenerational global heath

Editorial for the 12(1) issue of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry By David M. Shaw and Leigh E. Rich This special issue of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry focuses on global health and associated bioethical concerns. As a concept, global health broadens the focus from national public health situations to the international sphere and concerns […]

Categories: Art, Editorials, Ethics, Film, Health, Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Art, (in)visibility, and Ebola

“What are the consequences of a digitally-created society in the psyche of the global community?” By Leigh E. Rich, Michael A. Ashby, and David M. Shaw [V]isibility is central to the shaping of political, medical, and socioeconomic decisions. Who will be treated—how and where—are the central questions whose answers are often entwined with issues of […]

Categories: Ethics, Health, Politics, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Medical errors and apologies

Should health care providers be forced to apologise after things go wrong? By Stuart McLennan, Simon Walker, and Leigh E. Rich The issue of apologising to patients harmed by adverse events has been a subject of interest and debate within medicine, politics, and the law since the early 1980s. Although apology serves several important social […]

Categories: Editorials, Ethics, Health, Media, Politics, Social Science, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Crime and punishment, rehabilitation or revenge

Bioethics for prisoners? By Leigh E. Rich and Michael A. Ashby With some exceptions, it appears that the non-incarcerated world spends little time, if any at all, thinking about how prisoners are treated, whether during detainment or incarceration, after release, or when being put to state-sanctioned death. Of course, in part this is understandable, as […]

Categories: Ethics, Health, Politics, Utrinque Paratus | Comments Off on Apologies in medicine

Legal protection is not enough By Stuart McLennan, Leigh E. Rich, and Robert D. Truog There has been an important shift toward openness regarding adverse events and their communication to patients. Recent research suggests that saying sorry is a key element of successful disclosure practice. However, fear of legal action has been identified as a […]