Medicine in the 21st Century: Untangling the Ethical Implications of Modern Healthcare

As revolutionary new technologies empower the science of medicine to help us lead healthier and more complete lives, a series of difficult ethical, legal and social questions arise, the answers to which will inevitably shape the course of our future. How will we as a society reconcile our conflicting views on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and stem cell research with the knowledge that is being rapidly derived from increasingly complex and sophisticated medical technologies? With the mapping of the U.S. Human Genome Project scheduled for completion in 2003, how will our ability to know so many aspects of the future affect the way in which we decide to carry it out? Are there any limits or boundaries that science should adhere to in its insatiable quest for a universal elixir, or does our physical well being take precedence over any corollary concerns? How can we address privacy and confidentiality concerns over the use of genetic information by employers, insurers, courts, and schools?

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