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Introduction to the Project on Bioethics for Informed Choices - page 51 / 115





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Bioethics Education581

9. The vegetative state.  I want to hear your voice  Let my daughter Nancy die. In what way is it different from brain death? How far is recovery possible? What are they to their families? What about the hospital receiving them? Students: People have amazing powers of recuperation but can’t something be done about the fact that there are many places that are unable to look after them properly?

10. ALS   To tell the truth I want to live  The fact that I am living at home. What is our life? Living or being kept alive? Whose life is it? Students: Though at first they said that they wanted to die, they said they wanted to live, which was confusing. Was it really that they just said that out of a feeling of helplessness, when they actually wanted to live?

11. Drugs in the brain  Drug dependency. What is our real self? What do drugs solve? Will I change? Will I be able to accept myself off drugs? Students: If the stress of society is the cause, wouldn’t it be better to change society? Drugs are surprisingly close to hand. If we fear and avoid the dependent, then nothing will change.

12. Current problems, NHK HP, The law on organ transplantation. Should transplantation from children be allowed? Should the family be given preference as receivers? To whom does the transplanted organ belong? Students: By permitting transplantation from children many children should be saved. Cases where no donor can be found will arise.

13. Abortion, Regenerative Medicine, Genetic Diagnosis, You too will get cancer. When should abortion be allowed? Is it all right to use the aborted fetus? To whom do genes belong? What kind of person performs them? Students: After an abortion isn’t consent unnecessary? I wouldn’t want fetuses to be sold as a business. Is cultivation all right? We have to think about what to do for those who cannot be treated.

14. Awakenings. What does it mean to live with a disease? Is life only provisional until healed? Would it have been better for them never to have woken? Students: It may have been painful, but I think it was better that remaining asleep. Feelings change depending on what happens while alive.

15. Conclusions. Views of the body and mind Though our bodies are separated, our minds are linked.

In conclusion, I threshed out the contents for the next course based on the students’ impressions and the notes they had submitted throughout these lessons. While explaining self and death etc. on the level of the gene and chemical reactions, my intention was to stress that that self does not exist in isolation, but is held in common within the family and human relationships.


Pollard: Thank you. In one of your slides, your student questionnaire, you have at the bottom a box named, I think largely this questionnaire is not anonymous. It is invalidated because the students will be thinking that they should answer according to the way the teacher taught the class and the way teachers would like students to answer. I think this should be anonymous. In fact, in Australia it would be illegal to ask these questions unless one gets permission from an ethics committee to ask these questions if they are not anonymous.

Shiraishi: Merely, like what I just said, these are not reflected in their grades.  Up to what level of truth is being expressed, we can’t know that, of course.

Aksoy: I think your curriculum is not bioethics but medical ethics. I think in high school, you need more general topics since high school students are not health care professionals.

Shiraishi: I think that these topics are not just for specialists. We also discuss both sides of the question.  We discuss how experts think about this. But at the same time, we think these are topics not just for experts or specialists. What we focus on is how these issues are important in real life; for example, in the case of a 13 year old who became brain dead because of a bike accident. So I think the topic of brain death is not unrelated to the lives of high school students.  And when we discuss the topic of diseases, we do not just study about the disease but we try to focus on how to treat people with diseases. How we can respect their lives? That is the kind of focus that we have in our lecture.

Shinagawa: I’m a medical doctor. And I noticed that after the second world war, there was more

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