At the University of Chicago MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics today I had the opportunity to hear Paul Farmer Anthropologist and Physician Speak at Mandell Hall at UC. He was a warded the annual prize of the MacLean Center. It was very touching as he reviewed with good humor tinged with sarcasm many of things done by wrote ethics pretending to be true ethics -- when ethics is defined as a course of action lead by mortal intention ( my definition.) He spoke of two subjects among many close to my the recent establishment of a trauma center at the University of Chicago. Twenty-seven years ago the trauma center was shut down - as not cost effective. Leaving Cook County Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital to Chicago to handle virtually all of the trauma for the many million of people on the south side of Chicago and much of the west. North Western had trauma but it was primarily cold coast trauma, car wrecks and an excellent neuro- trauma center.
The other thing he discussed was three physicians who died in Liberia of Ebola and the "fake" bioethical application which denied a fully competent physician the opportunity to test an experimental cure for ebola -- not so much to cure himself but to expand the knowledge base for cure more quickly -- denied as if he did not know the risks, denied as if it might show favoritism for an MD dying -- fake ethical application in a complex situation -- ( my words) or moral cowardice (my words) in the face of enormous bravery of a physician willing to use his own fatal illness to advance the potential cure of a deadly disease for which he was willing to risk his life.
Paul Farmer is truly playing from a different deck.