October 5th, 2009
08:25 AM ET
May 20th, 2009
09:59 AM ET

When parents refuse treatment for children: A legal and ethical Q&A

Editor's Note: A Minnesota judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for the mother of Daniel Hauser, a 13-year-old boy who is refusing treatment for his cancer, after neither she nor the boy showed up for a court appearance.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/19/minnesota.forced.chemo/art.chemo.boy.kare.jpg caption="Doctors say Daniel Hauser's lymphoma responded well to a first round of chemotherapy in February."]

Anderson Cooper spoke with CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Arthur Caplan, Chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cooper: Dr. Caplan, is this a tough call for you?

Dr. Caplan: It's not a tough call for me, Anderson. When you compel treatment, it has to be something that's well established and proven. This is. The chemotherapy success rate for the cancer that this boy has, if we can get it going soon, is about 95%. It's very, very good. You wouldn't push as hard if you had an experimental treatment or something that was iffy. Other facts, if you look at the situation with the chemotherapy, the alternative the parents proposed is well known to have a success rate of zero. So sometimes you can say, well, you know, the parents prefer surgery. We prefer chemo. Let's go with what they want first. you've got to move to save this child's life. Parental rights are strong, but they do have a limit when you're basically sacrificing your child for a religious belief that they themselves can't articulate.

Cooper: Dr. Caplan, though, it may be tough to actually give this boy treatment. He's saying he's going to kick and refuse, you know, and make it difficult for doctors to put any needles in him. How do you deal with that?

Dr. Caplan: Well, I'll tell you, I've seen these cases. What happens is, you've got the dad who's already started to come around and say maybe chemo. They'll work with a psychologist. They will try very hard to bring the boy around. And I will tell you, Anderson, there's a lot of success in sort of swaying people once they understand and see one of their parents start to waver. I've never seen a case where you actually had to strap a child down and sedate them and administer chemotherapy that way. Could happen, but most of the time when parents begin to sort of change their minds and the dad is here, you get the kid to come on, too.

Cooper: Art, are you surprised to hear that maybe the dad is starting to change his mind, or you say that's what often happens in these cases?

Dr. Caplan: It often happens that way. When you're really up against it and you start to realize the doctors are saying this is the cure and you've got to go with it, pretty soon, or you're going to miss the opportunity, one or both parents usually begin to waver. One other point, Anderson, you can sometimes get a parent who holds out to work with you, saying you pray, you do the ceremonies, healing ceremonies you want, we'll do the chemo, we can work together. That sometimes brings them around, too.


Filed under: 360° Q & A • 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper • Ethics • Health Care • Jeffrey Toobin
March 16th, 2009
01:11 PM ET

In Belfast, picture an end to religious civil war

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Eboo Patel
Interfaith Youth Core
AC360° Contributor

Picture religious violence. What images come to mind? A plane crashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11? A videotape confession by a suicide bomber?

The perpetrators of religious violence are masters of marketing. They want you to see them commit acts of violence, and they want you to associate it with their religion. In fact, the violence is in many cases simply an excuse for the image. The goal is not the murder of a few, it is the poisoning of many with the pictures of violence, with the ultimate hope being the incitement of a religious civil war in cities like Baghdad.

Now picture interfaith cooperation. Did your brain-screen go fuzzy? I wish interfaith images came just as readily and were just as clear as images of religious violence. In fact, I believe one of the reasons we lack a strong, cohesive interfaith movement is because of the absence of such clear visual reference points.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Eboo Patel • Ethics • Faith
March 9th, 2009
10:30 AM ET

Embryonic stem cell reversal is distraction, congressman says

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A top congressional Republican on Sunday criticized President Barack Obama's expected decision to reverse the Bush administration's limits on embryonic stem-cell research, calling it a distraction from the country's economic slump.

"Why are we going and distracting ourselves from the economy? This is job No. 1. Let's focus on what needs to be done," Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip in the House of Representatives, told CNN's "State of the Union."

Obama's move, scheduled for Monday morning, is part of a broader effort to separate science and politics and "restore scientific integrity in governmental decision-making," White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes said Sunday. The Bush administration's 2001 policy bars federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells beyond the cell lines that existed at the time.

Cantor, R-Virginia, has been among the leaders of GOP opposition to Obama's economic policies.


Filed under: Ethics • Health Care • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
February 17th, 2009
03:43 PM ET

Financier charged with $9.2 billion fraud

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Julianne Pepitone

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it has charged financier Robert Allen Stanford and three of his companies with orchestrating a $9.2 billion investment and sales fraud.

The SEC's complaint alleges that the fraud centered on a CD program in which Stanford International Bank promised "improbable and unsubstantiated high interest rates."


February 11th, 2009
06:15 PM ET

Wall Street Mocked American Values

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Thomas Frank
Wall Street Journal

The announcement last week that Trader Monthly magazine was ceasing publication was one of those moments when a chance arrow of history scores a perfect bull's eye on a deserving target. The current recession, brought on at least in part by Wall Street's bonus lust, has claimed countless innocent victims. But in this case it has finally delivered a comeuppance to our era's loudest, gaudiest, cockiest champion of Wall Street excess.

Those who still single out former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain as a symbol of extravagance should take note. Yes, the man once spent over a million dollars having his office remodeled and went on to arrange questionable bonuses for the year in which Merrill lost billions and sold itself to Bank of America.


Filed under: Economy • Ethics
December 29th, 2008
10:09 AM ET

Ethics test for Democrats

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/26/rangel.responds/art.charles.rangel.gi.jpg caption="U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel denies any ties between pledges for a project and preservation of a tax loophole."]

Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

Congressman Charles Rangel's fate hangs in the balance as a report concerning the Ways and Means Committee chairman is being prepared for release in early January.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she is waiting for the report from the House Ethics Committee before deciding what to do about several allegations against Rangel.

He's under investigation for allegedly using formal letterhead to solicit donations to a school to be named in his honor; helping one donor's company keep a tax loophole; having unreported income from a vacation villa; and having several rent-controlled apartments at below market rates, including one set up for his campaign operations in violation of state and local laws.

Filed under: Democrats • Ethics • Raw Politics
September 29th, 2008
01:03 PM ET

Downsizing 102 – When It Happens to You

Editor's Note: The Ethics Guy, Dr. Bruce Weinstein, writes the ethics column for BusinessWeek.com.Here is Dr. Weinsteins followup blog to to downsizing: "Downsizing 101 – When You Have to Do It"

Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
AC360° Contributor
The Ethics Guy,

Americans are bracing for massive job losses in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Even before the recent crisis on Wall Street, anxiety about employment was high; earlier this year, the U.S. Labor Dept. released a report stating that there had been a net loss of 63,000 jobs, which was the biggest decline in five years.

Whether or not your own job is in jeopardy in the near future, at some point in your career you may become a victim of downsizing. What should you do? What you should avoid doing at all costs? We’ll consider these questions in this column, the second of a two-part series on the ethics of downsizing.

Being laid off is one of the most traumatic events we can experience. On the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale, getting fired is the eighth most stressful life experience, behind the death of a spouse (#1) or going to jail (#4), but ahead of the death of a close friend (#17), foreclosure on a mortgage or loan (#21), or in-law troubles (#24). Rightly or wrongly, many of us define ourselves by our jobs, which is why one of the first questions we ask someone we meet is, “What do you do?”


Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Economy • Ethics • Job Market
September 15th, 2008
11:18 AM ET

Downsizing 101 – When You Have to Do It

Editor's Note: The Ethics Guy, Dr. Bruce Weinstein, writes the ethics column for BusinessWeek.com.

Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
AC360° Contributor
The Ethics Guy,

Most discussions about downsizing focus on the legal, economic, or psychological issues raised by this practice. These are essential concerns, but we rarely consider how or why downsizing is also an ethical issue. This is the first of a two-part series that will redress that problem. Today, we'll consider your ethical responsibilities if you are the one charged with giving the bad news. In the second part, we'll look at what you ought and ought not to do if you are the one being downsized.



Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics
August 20th, 2008
12:00 PM ET

The Ethics of Talking Politics at Work

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/20/art.office.jpg]
Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
AC360° Contributor
The Ethics Guy®, BusinessWeek.com

The hot-button issues of politics can lead to inflamed tempers that can impede your productivity—and possibly, your progress.

Who do you think should be the next President of the U.S.? John McCain? Barack Obama? Jon Stewart? Regardless of who gets elected, there is no question that this is the most diverse and exciting campaign in many years.

Given what is at stake in the election and the historic nature of this year's race, it is tempting to discuss the issue at work with those colleagues we're accustomed to chatting with and hashing out so many things. Yet there are very good reasons why we shouldn't.

The Fearsome Foursome.

Along with sex, money, and religion, politics is one of the most controversial topics of conversation that exists. I submit that money, more than sex, is the most personal aspect of our lives, and it is the one that opens us up to the greatest potential for embarrassment.

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Raw Politics
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