Recent Event Highlights: Founding of ACT UP, Declaration of Helsinki Published , Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN. , American Medical Association Publishes Code of Medical Ethics, First Modern Code of Medical Ethics, and 24 more...
Created by awilding on Jun 27, 2011
Last updated: 07/13/11 at 04:05 PM
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President Barack Obama signs health care reform legislation into law. Some of the highlights of the legislation include improved coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, better prescription drug coverage in Medicare, and a reform of the private health insurance market. President Obama Signs Health Insurance Legislation Into Law Image Credit: Pete Souza [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Terri Schiavo dies at age 41.
In a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed after a lengthy legal battle between her parents and her husband for guardianship.
George W. Bush announces a stem cell policy that bans the use of federal funds for new human embryonic stem cell research. Image Mike Jones [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons Stem cell diagram illustrates a human fetus stem cell and possible uses on the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems.
The rough draft of the Human Genome is published.
Dolly was the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell.
Oregon becomes the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide by passing the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
Challenged by the George W. Bush administration, the law was upheld by the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon in 2006.
In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the State of Missouri that “clear and convincing” evidence is required for the removal of life support. The family of Nancy Cruzan petitioned the state of Missouri to remove life support for their daughter who was in a persistent vegetative state following a 1983 car accident. The court found no “clear and convincing evidence” of what their daughter wanted. Following the ruling, the family found additional evidence that their daughter would want life support discontinued and were able to remove life support following a court order. Cruzan died 11 days later.
In Moore v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court of California ruled that John Moore had no right to collect profits from the commercialization of his discarded body parts.
Moore was treated for hairy cell leukemia at UCLA Medical Center, and his cancer cells were later developed into a commercialized cell line.
The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is founded at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York. The group forms to increase awareness, legislation, research, and treatment to eliminate the disease. Image Credit: Riekhavoc/Flickr The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, a group against AIDS, protests in New York City against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.
In School Board of Nassau County v. Gene H. Arline, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that individuals with infectious diseases are considered handicapped under anti-discrimination laws.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 covers illnesses that cause a "record of impairment" upon a patient's "major life activities."
Justice William Brennan delivered the opinion.
Photo by Robert S. Oakes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Official portrait of Justice William J. Brennan, taken in early 1976.
In the Diamond v. Chakravarty case, the Supreme Court held that a living, man-made microorganism is patentable subject matter within the Patent Act of 1952.
The Belmont Report is published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services). The report is an important historical document in the field of medical ethics that outlines ethical guidelines when using human subjects in medical research.
The Declaration of Alma-Ata was adopted at The International Conference of Primary Health Care held in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. It encouraged all governments and health workers to promote health for all, and identified primary health care as a key competent to the health of people worldwide. Image Credit: Pan American Health Organization
The case of Karen Quinlan was a significant decision in the conflict of whether to remove life-support for a patient who does not have a terminal illness but who is in a persistent vegetative state.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that Quinlan's respirator could be removed if the hospital ethics committee agreed that Quinlan would not recover from her coma.
Once Quinlan's respirator was removed, she continued to breathe on her own and lived for an additional nine years while still in a coma.
Image Credit: Bettmann/Corbis
Founding of Genentech, a biotechnology corporation that played a major role in the launch of the biotechnology industry.
A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
A clinical study of the effects of untreated syphilis done on 600 poor, rural African-American men in Tuskegee, Al.
The study was conducted by the U.S. Health Service along with the Tuskegee Institute between 1932 and 1972.
The men were never told about or treated for their syphilis despite the fact that penicillin was the standard treatment for syphilis by 1947.
The men thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.
Lewis Washkansky, 53, receives the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
The passage of the act created Medicare and Medicaid.
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protects a right to privacy. A Connecticut law banned the use of contraceptives, but the Supreme Court found that the law violated the "right to marital privacy."
The Declaration of Helsinki is first drafted by the World Medical Association.
Widely viewed as a foundation of ethics in human research, the declaration serves as a set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation for the medical community.
The Kefauver-Harris Amendment required drug manufacturers to provide evidence of the safety and effectiveness of their drugs before approval, as well as requiring side effects to be included in their advertising. The amendment was introduced in response to the birth defects caused by the use of Thalidomide in pregnant women.
Thalidomide, a drug which caused thousands of birth defects in children, is banned.
Used as a drug to treat morning sickness in pregnant women, thalidomide caused birth defects in 10,000 children.
Seattle’s Swedish Hospital begins offering kidney dialysis to outpatients.
Because the program could only accept a limited number of patients, a committee made up of largely laypeople was formed to determine who would receive the treatments.
The public debated the ethical actions of the committee, and by 1972 Congress established federal support for any patient needing dialysis.
Image Credit: Life Magazine
The publication of Rachel Carson’s 'Silent Spring.' The book documented the negative effects of pesticides on the environment and helped to launch the environmental movement.
The Food and Drug Administration approves the birth control bill in 1960. By 1963, 1.2 million women were using the pill.
Invented by Dr. Belding H. Scribner, along with Dr. Wayne Quinton, the Scribner shunt to treat patients with kidney disease. The shunt acted as an artificial kidney for use during dialysis treatments. The invention transformed dialysis from a short-term procedure lasting only a few weeks, to a long-term procedure, possibly lasting several years. The invention provided permanent access to hemodialysis for patients with renal failure. Image credit: Kidney International
Dr. Jonas Salk first tests a polio vaccine that he developed. In what would become one of the largest medical experiments in history, 1.8 million children across America participated in the polio vaccine trials.
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial was one of 12 trials for war crimes at the end of World War II. All 23 defendants were accused of involvement in Nazi human experimentation, and most of the defendants were doctors. In the aftermath of the trial, the Nuremberg Code was the first of its kind to establish recommendations such as informed consent for medical research subjects.
The American Medical Association is founded at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics written and published.
Thomas Percival, an English physician and writer publishes what is likely the first modern code of medical ethics. Additionally, Percival coined the term “medical ethics.” Image credit: Leo Reynolds/Flickr
Ishaq bin Ali Rahawi writes The Conduct of a Physician, a text that establishes ethical standards for Muslim physicians.
The Hippocratic Oath is written. The oath has historically been taken by doctors swearing to practice medicine ethically.