[ExI] Medical power of attorney for cryonicsts

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Dec 5 02:05:51 UTC 2014

From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of John Clark
Subject: Re: [ExI] Medical power of attorney for cryonicsts



>…but If you want advice a organic chemist would be much more useful than a ethicists. John K Clark



On the contrary sir.  An organic chemist is useless to me, until I can be comfortable that what I am thinking about doing here is morally justifiable.


John here is what I am asking of you, and the others.  Help me think of all the consequences and weigh the value in the right/wrong scale.  For instance, I already threw out the possibility that if this works and helps Alz. patients, others who are not Alz. patients would take the stuff to try to get smarter.  But my notion on how this works suggests it wouldn’t help at all if you don’t have beta amyloid plaques in the brain, but it would destroy some perfectly healthy thyroids, creating a pile of new problems.


If on the other hand, we run this test on a willing and informed patient and see that it does help, I feel morally obligated to report it.  Wouldn’t you?  


John, I see your point about the absurdity of getting a PhD in morality, and partially agree.  But medical ethics is a real discipline and it of itself is not absurd at all.  The way I envision it, we should be able to create a system of simultaneous differential equations to describe the good/bad-ness of experimenting with a theoretical therapy.  This might be just a controls guy’s way of looking at life.


Recall my adventure a year ago last March when the LA Times published a story on Targretin for AD patients.  They were doing pretty well until they got down to the last paragraph, where they said: On the other hand, even if effective, this therapy could only help the rich.  The medications would cost about 1100 dollars a day…   I immediately got on the phone and urged them to take down the story immediately, because the 1100 bucks was the cost of a month’s supply, which is cheap as medicinal regimes go, and furthermore, this article introduced the risk that some yahoo would buy 1100 bucks worth of Targretin and shovel it all down grandma’s throat in one day, thus finishing off the hapless matriarch.  To their partial credit, they took me seriously, and located and contacted the author while I was still on the phone, resulting in the modification of the article within about 5 hours.  It still had the erroneous comment about being a therapy for the rich, which isn’t true and in any case is irrelevant: if only some can afford a life-saving therapy, it can still save some lives.  I could use the advice of a good medical ethicist on what I did there and what the LA Times did.  I feel OK about it.


John, to your point of the cryonics patient being just as dead regardless, in some ways an Alzheimer’s patient is just as dead as a cryonicist.  The quality of life gets so low, I would not question any AD patient wanting to try anything, aaaaanything regardless of how dangerous.  I get queasy just thinking about this.


There is a man here who I know from long association is one who always does the right thing, who loves humanity and has useful insights into ethics, Anders Sandberg.  I want to hear his take.  Anders, where are ye, lad?


My questions are these: if I have a candidate who is informed and consenting, is it ethically acceptable for me to proceed with bexarotene experiments?  If so, and we find the results positive, is it OK for me (or mandatory for me) to publicize the results, knowing that it may put some desperate patients at great risk, and invite abuse with possibly fatal results?  If yes for the first question and no for the second, do not these two results contradict each other?  If yes and yes, are those results contradictory?  Is not this a classic medical ethics dilemma?  


John I want you and the others here to take another scoop at these questions please and dig deeper sir, go deep, dig up some jewels of wisdom for one who really needs a few.









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