Growth Hormones, Liposuction, and Botox:
The Ethics of Enhancements
? Johnny’s parents have taken him NEW to a pediatric endocrinologist and Behavioral Health Ethics Case requested growth hormone Conference injections at $10,000 annual. When: Bi-monthly starting Johnny is a 12 –year-old, his 3/4/04 at noon parents are short, and he is Where: By phone moderately below the median Who: Anyone in CHE working height for his age with no in Behavioral Health documented growth hormone deficiency. His parents want Johnny to compete in sports and hope for him to avoid the stigmatization they experienced in middle school. ? Jill is a 30-year-old, big-boned business executive who has fought weight and body image problems all her life. She recently shed 60 pounds by diets after she was turned away from bariatric surgery. She wants to lose another 10 pounds from hard-to-lose spots but she is a risky candidate for liposuction because of a clotting disorder. After months of insisting her doctor submits. ? Joe is a 61-year-old whose wife thinks he is aging quicker than she. Viagra and Zoloft have helped their married life. Now he asks his doctor for male hormone therapy as an anti-aging measure. Each of these cases points to the ethics of enhancement, or what some critics have termed cases “beyond therapy.” While there is a growing debate about the issue of enhancements, ethics committees are reluctant to wade into the matter. Compared with more immediate topics in bioethics, the issue of enhancement seems abstract, and a waste of an ethics committee’s attention. Yet, the phenomenon is already upon us with growing acceptance of the use of cosmetic
enhancements such as rhinoplasty, liposuction, and Botox injections, performance enhancing drugs such as sex hormones and anti-aging therapies, and mood-altering or attention-altering agents. What are ethics committees to
think about them, and more
importantly, what difference would it make to contemplate them?
Like all good bioethics conversations,
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