Science Teachers Learning to Tackle Thorny Issues Inherent in Subject
Interest in bioethics rises in schools, as it does in public arena.
A teenager is dying. What he first thought was simply a case of the flu gets steadily worse. The whites of his eyes turn yellow. His urine becomes dark brown. Doctors realize the 17-year-old is in the grip of a sudden and overwhelming liver failure and has only a few days to live.
When it appears a liver transplant won’t be available in time, a surgeon suggests an astonishing alternative: Use a pig’s liver to keep the teenager alive until a suitable human organ can be found. The procedure is highly experimental, and after the patient lapses into a coma, it’s up to his grandmother to decide whether to go through with it.
That decision, and other aspects of the real-life case, served as a launching point for a group of teachers who gathered in a forest encampment here last week. They were attending a weeklong workshop on how to discuss the role of ethics in science with their classes—an issue of...
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