Human Exceptionalism

How Do We Judge Medical Harm?

Doctors are planning to perform the first uterus transplant in a woman desiring the surgery so she can have a baby, not to save her life. This strikes me as moving onto dangerous ground where doctors reduce themselves from professionals into technicians.

Medical professionals have responsibilities, for example and perhaps most famously, to do no harm. They have patients, to whom they owe fiduciary duties if solemn trust. Yet, this transplant could cause death, serious side effects, the and if there is a pregnancy and the organ fails, the death of mother and fetus.

Technicians, on the other hand, have lower standards–primarily those dictated by the marketplace–and they have customers. “Choice” and fulfilling desires become the ruling paradigm.

And this is where I see medicine devolving from the professional who refuses to harm patients, to the technician who supplies market demand and justifies every procedure by the excuse, “It’s what he or she wants.”

It ain’t good.