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Is It Bioethical? Testing Kids For Adult-Onset Conditions


Should a child be able to grow up unhindered by the knowledge that later in life he or she will suffer from a serious illness?

Not testing children for adult-onset conditions has long been a central bioethical principle among pediatricians.  There are those who disagree, believing that knowing is better than ignorance

In the first portion of Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with pediatrician/bioethicist Dr. John Lantos; medical educator and philosopher Rosamond Rhodes, PhD; and geneticist Kelly Ormond about the pros and cons of testing children.  Together they look at respecting a child's future autonomy as well as the right of parents to make decisions about such matters for their children and families.

John Lantos, MD is the Director of Pediatric Bioethics and a Professor of Pediatrics at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.  He also serves as director of the Children's Mercy Bioethics Center.   Lantos received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  He specialties include bioethics, doctor-patient communications, and research ethics. Rosamond Rhodes, PH.D. is a Professor of Medical Education and Director of Bioethics Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  She is also Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, CUNY and Professor of Bioethics and Associate Director of the Union-Mount Sinai Bioethics Program. She has published more than 160 articles and chapters on a broad range of issues in bioethics including: professionalism, surrogate decision making, research ethics, organ transplantation, and bioethics education. Kelly Ormond, MS, CGC, is an Associate Professor at the Department of Genetics of the Stanford School of Medicine.  She also is the inaugural program director for the MS in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling at Stanford.  Ormond received a Master of Science degree in genetic counseling from Northwestern University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship certificate in Clinical Medical Ethics at the MacLean Center of the University of Chicago.  She is also certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

Hear in KC: The webinar, "Should Parents Be Permitted to Test Children for Adult-Onset Conditions? A Debate Between Ormond & Rhodes", takes place on Friday, April 5, from noon - 1:00.  For more information or to register for the event visit the Children's Mercy Bioethics Center webpage.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.