Two stories from opposite sides of the world show how fast the medical ethics field is growing.
The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia reports that the Royal Children's Hospital in in that city is spending $900,000 (Australian) to open a Children's Bioethics Centre, billed as only the second such centre in the world. The centre opens today, and will tackle some of the central issues of modern medical ethics:
Paediatrician Dr Hugo Gold, who will chair the new centre, said it was the result of two major trends: technological advances that have created new treatments, and a move to give patients more choice. "In the good old days it was 'doctor knows best, no questions asked,'" he said. "The world has changed a lot. Medicine is now much more inclusive."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics is about to become one of the few institutions in the United States offering a master's degree in bioethics.
The school, which already offers an undergraduate bioethics degree, expects about 10 students a year to enroll in the new program. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the school's bioethics center, said the degree will be for students in with a degree in another field, such as law or medicine, who want to add bioethics to their expertise.