Values and the Health Professions

Thursdays 5:15 - 8:05 p.m., NCB 4206


Instructor: Constance K. Perry, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Humanities and Sciences

Office: 1223 Bellet, Center City Campus

Phone: 215-762-7857 Fax: 215-762-8429†† E-Mail:

Web Page:


Office Hours:Thursdays 1:30-2:30 p.m., and by appointment.



  • Levine, C. Taking sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Bioethical Issues, 11th Ed. McGraw-Hill/Dushkin (Guilford, CT: 2006). Required
  • Pence, G. Classic Cases in Medical Ethics, 4rd Ed. McGraw-Hill (New York, NY: 2004). Required
  • Weston, A. A Rulebook for Arguments, 3rd. Ed. Hackett Publishing Company (Indianapolis, Indiana: 2001). Recommended



1. To explore complex issues in bioethics that are important for health care practice.

2. To promote discussion of these issues and the questions that underlie them in a nonantagonistic and open-minded environment.

3. To further develop studentís critical thinking skills.††††††

4. To increase studentís knowledge about views and perspectives other than their own, including those from other cultures and belief systems.††††††

5.To enable students to critically evaluate journal articles in bioethics, with an eye to the impact on their professionals practice and personal views.


By the end of this course the student should:

1.Be more confident when discussing controversial ethical issues.

2.Be more aware of the ethical dimensions in their decisions.

3.Be able to identify and evaluate some of the main arguments on bioethical issues.

4.Display the development and/or improvement of critical thinking skills.

5.Have a greater understanding of people from other backgrounds and/or beliefs.

6.Be able to apply the material presented in the class to their professional practice and personal health care decisions.

7.Be able to critique articles on bioethics and thereby facilitate ethics discussions with patients, family, and colleagues.



Attendance & Class Participation†† †††††† 10%

Two Essay Exams (30% each)†††††††† †††† 60%

Presentation & Paper††† †††††††††††††† †††††††† 30%



If you have a physical or mental disability that requires accommodations, please contact Jeff Bonfield, as soon as possible to request accommodations.His office is located in New College Building 1602.His phone number is 215-762-7682.




With the exception of 9/04, it is expected that you will have read the pages indicated for that day.


09/01 Introduction to the course.


09/08 Ethical theory and argumentation - Pence(P), Ch. 1, Levine(L), Introduction. Handouts: Ethical Theory , Good Argumentation


09/15 Medical Decision-Making: L. Issues 1, 2 and 6.Handouts: Informed Consent, Bioethics Terms


09/22 PVS and Medical Futility - P. Ch. 2 & L. Issue 7. Handouts: Futility, Surrogate Decision-Making, Ordinary/Extraordinary

Cruzan v. Director, MDH , Matter of Quinlan (excerpts), Bush v. Schiavo


09/29 Requests to Die - P. Ch. 3 & 4, L. Issue 5. Movie - "An Appointment with Death" Handouts: Euthanasia, Advance Directives

10/07 Life-Sustaining Treatment and Young Children - P. Ch. 9 & pp. 357-365, L. Issues 10 & 11.Review for Exam. Handouts: Handling Conflict in the Pediatric Setting, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics. Informed consent, parental permission, and assent in pediatric practice. Pediatrics 1995;95(2):314317.


10/14†† FIRST EXAM


10/20 Movie - "Deadly Deception" - Professor is out of town. Watch movie and we will discuss it next week.

10/27 Human Experimentation - P. Ch. 11 & L. Issue 15.
Handouts: Human Radiation Committee Recommendations, NIH Informed Consent Checklist


11/03 Animal Experimentation - P. Ch 10 & Levine Issue14. Handout: PHS Principles on Animal Experimentation


11/10 Abortion & Maternal-Fetal Conflicts - P. Ch. 7 & L. Issues 8 & 9.Handouts: Doctrine of Double Effect

11/17 Assisted Reproduction & Embryonic Stem Cell Research - P. Ch. 6 & 7, & L. Issue 12.Links: Visible Embryo Web-site, ANA's Position Statement on Human Cloning, AJOB Online's Section on cloning and Genetics, NIH Stem Cell Primer


11/24†† No Class - Happy Thanksgiving!


12/01 Organ Transplantation - P. Ch. 12 & 13 & L. Issue 19. Handout: Non-Heartbeating Organ Donation


12/08 Just Health Care Delivery Systems - P. Ch. 18 & L. Issue 16. Review for Exam. Handout: Justice and Health Care Reform



Cancellation of Class:In case of weather emergency, listen for these code numbers over the radio.††† 185 - Closed (Day)††† 2185 - Closed (Evening)





Paper and Presentation Guidelines


1.Receive your general topic area and date.These are assigned randomly on the first day of class.If you miss the first day of class, it is your responsibility to ask the instructor for your assignment.


2.You should select a specific controversial issue in biomedical ethics which is related to your general topic. Feel free to consult with the instructor if you have any questions regarding the applicability of your chosen issue or need other help.The reference librarians in the library are also very helpful for research on specific issues.


3.Develop a short presentation which describes the issue and explains and supports your position on the issue.This should take about 5 minutes.After the presentation you will respond to questions from the class.


4. On the day of your presentation, an 8-10 page paper is due which provides an expanded version of your presentation.The paper should explain the issue, summarize and explain your position, the reasoning behind it, and your responses to anticipated counter-arguments.Remember that this is an argumentative paper.So your paper should focus on supporting your thesis statement.††

††††††††††† The paper should be typed, double-spaced, with a title page and reference list.The paper should use APA format.The title and reference pages do not count towards the paper length.Remember to clearly and consistently cite your sources for information, paraphrasing and quotes, using APA format. All sources used in writing the paper should also be documented in the reference page.Failure to cite or reference a source is a form of plagiarism.Consult the Student Code of Conductís section on academic integrity for the Universityís definition of plagiarism:

A good rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cite the source.


5.Please notify the instructor in advance, if you need anything from media services or have any other special requests for the presentation.


6.Your paper is due the day of your presentation.A full letter grade will be taken off for each class for which the paper is late.Except under exceptional circumstances, there is no make-up for missing the presentation.The presentation is 40% of the grade for this assignment.So if you miss your presentation you will fail this assignment.