Suspended Ethics?

How suspended animation threatens patient choice.

The recent news that selected patients are to be placed in suspended animation without their consent has far-reaching implications. In order to test a new experimental procedure for the first time, Doctors at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh will try to save the lives of 10 victims of gun and knife wounds by placing them in suspended animation.

The procedure involves replacing the patient’s blood with a cold saline solution in order to slow down cellular activity. It’s exciting news from the cutting edge of medical science, but also raises some troubling questions about our thirst for immortality and our willingness to overlook issues such as patient choice in the process.

We spoke to American philosopher and sociologist, Steve Fuller, to find out what such news says about our relationship with medical science.

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