Past Events

Computing Genomic and Health Data in the “Clouds”?: ELSI Challenges

Category:

Seminars

Date:

21 May, 2014

Time:

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Venue:

Room A824, 8/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker(s):

Professor Bartha M. Knoppers, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine, Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University

Data Sharing in Health and Science: Something to Fear or Embrace?

Category:

Seminars

Date:

8 Apr, 2014

Time:

12:30pm – 1:30pm

Venue:

Room A824, 8/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Speaker(s):

Professor Eric Meslin, Director of Center for Bioethics, Associate Dean for Bioethics and Professor of Medicine, Indiana University

Abstract:

In 1969 Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan said: “The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.” McLuhan’s words may have been prescient coming decades before the sequenced human genome and the surge in use of ‘big data’ analytics raised profound ethical issues for science and society. But it would be a mistake to conclude that collecting and sharing data is always dangerous and dehumanizing. This talk will first review some of the current data on data sharing from why researchers resist sharing data, to what patients say they want shared and then discuss some promising approaches for getting the balance right between protecting personal privacy and promoting public health.

Wrongful actions? The rights and wrongs of wrongful birth and life actions

Category:

Seminars

Date:

28 Mar, 2014

Time:

12:30pm – 1:30pm

Venue:

Room A824, 8/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker(s):

Dr. Vera Lúcia Raposo, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Macau

Abstract:

With modern techniques of pre-natal diagnosis it is possible to predict and detect some maladies before birth and even before conception. However, parents are not always correctly informed of the results of these exams. This lack of information may prevent mothers from exercising reproductive self-determination and may impose on the child living conditions excessively burdensome for a dignified existence.

This presentation will deal with actions brought against doctors and/or hospitals by parents in their own names for “wrongful birth” or on behalf of children for “wrongful life,” arising from such incidents resulting from insufficient or incorrect information.

Since prenatal diagnoses are not always scientifically reliable, in what circumstances is it possible to identify illicit behaviour on the part of doctors? What is the expected behaviour from health professionals in such circumstances, according with leges artis, in order to increase the patient’s safety? Do doctors have duties only to parents or also to protect the unborn? Have the child and the parents suffered real damages caused by the medical team? If so, what kinds of damages may be compensated under the law?

These questions are not merely legal, but ethical and even moral: are we attempting merely to reduce human pain, or does prenatal testing implicate eugenics? Is existence always of value or must we also demand a qualitative dimension to the “right to life?” Do such legal actions represent unjustified caprice in search of utopic perfect human beings or a meaningful debate over patient safety?

Regulating Patient Safety: Is it Time for a Technological Response?

Category:

Seminars

Date:

24 Feb, 2014

Time:

12:30pm – 1:30pm

Venue:

11/F conference room, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Speaker(s):

Professor Roger Brownsword, Professor of Law, King’s College London

Abstract:

Following the publication of the report of the public inquiry into the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (centring on the deaths of patients at Stafford Hospital), the banner headline on the front page of The Times bluntly warned: ‘NHS: No one is safe’. The Francis report, painting a shocking picture of the suffering of hundreds of patients whose safety was ignored for the sake of corporate self-interest and cost control, recommends that there should be a fundamental change of culture so that there is a shared commitment to the ideal that patients and their safety should come first. While there is much to admire about Francis’ strategy in proposing a fundamental cultural change, this presentation raises the question whether, with the regulatory environment for patient safety seemingly broken, we should turn to a more technological approach to address the problem?

Biography of speaker:

Professor Roger Brownsword, who is a graduate of the London School of Economics, has been an academic lawyer for more than 40 years. Currently, he is Professor of Law at King’s College London, where he was the founding director of TELOS (a research centre that focuses on technology, ethics, law, society), an honorary professor at the University of Sheffield, and a visiting professor at Singapore Management University.
He has published more than a dozen books, including Law and the Technologies of the Twenty-First Century(co-authored with Morag Goodwin) (CUP, 2012), and has more than 200 papers in edited collections and law reviews. He has acted as a specialist adviser to the parliamentary committees of the United Kingdom dealing with stems cells and hybrid embryos. From 2004-2010, he was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics; and, currently, he is Chair of the Ethics and Governance Council of UK Biobank.

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