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  • Introduction to Medical Ethics and the Holocaust

    Dr. Rubenfeld’s opening remarks from the Michael DeBakey Medical Ethics Lecture Series in 2007. Most people, including medical professionals, know very little about the central role of the German medical profession in the design and implementation of the Holocaust. They know even less about the legal, moral, and philanthropic precedents and support provided by American eugenicists to German eugenics. This lecture gives an overview of both subjects and provides an introduction to the subsequent lectures. Eugenics is defined as the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics and to decrease the occurrence of undesirable heritable characteristics. German physicians, the best in the world at the time, initially chose to prevent transmission of undesirable genetic traits by sterilization and prohibiting marriages of non–Aryans to Aryans. They then developed gas chambers to eliminate these German, not specifically Jewish, “lives not worth living” by involuntary “euthanasia” or mercy killing. These gas chambers were later enlarged and multiplied for the Final Solution to the Jewish problem. American eugenicists provided: The first involuntary sterilization laws in the world as a model for German sterilization laws Philanthropic support for the research foundation that help train Dr. Josef Mengele Model immigration laws for preventing undesirable Jewish, Italian and Chinese immigrants A book by Madison Grant about Nordic supremacy that Hitler called his “Bible” 🎧 Audio Only:

  • Involuntary Sterilization in the US and Germany

    Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN is Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing, along with her role as Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. Objectives: Describe the policies that led to the sterilization laws in the US and Germany. Analyze the impact of these laws. Discuss how these laws laid the ground work for the “euthanasia” program.

  • The Medicalization of Murder: The Euthanasia Programs

    Part I: The Children's Euthanasia Program Part II: Adult Euthanasia: The T-4 Killing Program Part III: "Wild" Euthanasia Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN is Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing, along with her role as Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. Objectives: To identify the major historical factors leading to the children’s euthanasia program To describe the major beliefs of the German people and the German culture consistent with the development of the children’s euthanasia program To specifically appraise the roles of physicians and nurses in these killings To analyze the connections between the killing of disabled children and the application of racial hygiene policy To identify your feelings and thoughts about the value of the individual and society’s responsibility to protect vulnerable groups To discuss the relevancy of this module to contemporary practice

  • How Healers Became Killers

    Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN is Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing, along with her role as Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. The module is an overview of how nurses and physicians in the Third Reich, sworn to care for their patients, became killers. This section comes with suggested reading, discussion, and a synopsis, as well as a PowerPoint entitled “From Caregivers to Killers.”

  • Roles of Physicians and Nurses in the Medical Experiments Related to "Racial Hygiene"

    Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN serves as Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, as well as Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing. She acts as Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. The unit describes the role of physicians and nurses in furthering “racial hygiene” in the Third Reich. Included are questions for discussion, as well as reading and an overview section.

  • Roles of Physicians and Nurses in the Medical Experiments for Military Purposes

    Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN is Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, and Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing; she is also the Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. This module includes information on the role played by doctors and nurses in experiments designed to increase the survival of German troops. The learning unit includes a reading list, study questions, and an overview of this historical theme.

  • Post-War Trials and Consequences

    Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN: Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing, and Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. This unit covers the fate of the Nazi perpetrators in the post-war trials, and is complete with reading list, questions, and overview. The module also includes a PowerPoint on the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial.

  • Ethical Vigilance: Monitoring Contemporary Events

    Dr. Susan C. Benedict, CRNA, PhD, FAAN is a Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health. She is also Department Chair at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston School of Nursing and Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics. This is a unit on contemporary medical and current events read through the lens of Nazi atrocities; it is complete with reading, discussion questions, and overview. There is also a PowerPoint on the dangers of transgression in a post-1945 environment.

  • Bioethics and the Holocaust

    Dr. Stacy Gallin, DMH is founder of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics, and the Holocaust, and works in the Medical Humanities field, focusing on the philosophy of psychiatry, bioethics and the Holocaust, with attention to various ways to remedy the healthcare system in America. Gallin’s course syllabus focuses on the state of biomedical ethics in World War II, noting how the Holocaust is a unique example of medically sanctioned genocide. The biomedical ethics established during the Third Reich remain relevant for current medical and scientific practice. Gallin notes: “Eugenics, disability studies, end-of-life care, genetic testing, and human experimentation are all topics that are vital to the history as well as the future of bioethics. Exploring the pivotal role played by science and medicine in the labeling, persecution, and eventual mass murder of those deemed ‘unfit’ is essential to preventing other instances of human rights abuses in modern society.” Purpose: This course will focus on the abrogation of biomedical ethics in World War II Germany, demonstrating how the Holocaust is a unique example of medically sanctioned genocide. The biomedical ethical considerations brought to light as a result of the alliance between medicine and the Nazis remain relevant for current medical and scientific practice. Eugenics, disability studies, end-of-life care, genetic testing, and human experimentation are all topics that are vital to the history as well as the future of bioethics. Exploring the pivotal role played by science and medicine in the labeling, persecution, and eventual mass murder of those deemed “unfit” is essential to preventing other instances of human rights abuses in modern society. Objectives: Bioethics and the Holocaust: An Introduction Eugenics: The Pseudo-Scientific Foundations of Genocide The International Eugenics Movement The Biological State: Eugenics in Germany German Medicine and the Nazi Doctors A Method Behind the Madness: How Nazi Ideology Became National Policy Euthanasia and The Final Solution Nazi Medical Experiments Nazi Medical Experiments Debate The Nuremberg Trial: The Birth of Bioethics Current Ethical Implications: Beginning of Life Care, Current Ethical Implications: End of Life Care Medicine After the Holocaust: The Future of Bioethics

  • Medical Ethics After the Holocaust

    Dr. Ashley K. Fernandes, MD, PhD, is the Assoc. Director at the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Assoc. Prof. of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In this proposal for 4th year competency, Dr. Fernandes covers topics such as the Philosophy of Medicine, the Philosophy of Science: Eugenics & the Objectivity of Science, Research Ethics: Learning from Nazi, Japanese, and Soviet Research Abuse, and Anti-Semitism and The Final Solution, amongst others. The proposal recommends the following as a service project: “Clinical/Service Experience with Vulnerable Population (40 hrs., minimum): Student must set up their own clinical or service experience with an “historically vulnerable population” (targeted in the Holocaust).” Objectives: 1. Philosophy of Medicine: Why An Oath? Why the Holocaust? Philosophy of Science: Eugenics & the Objectivity of Science Medical Education in Wartime: Belsinitis & Pernkopf’s Atlas Research Ethics: Learning from Nazi, Japanese, and Soviet Research Abuse Anti-Semitism: Persons as “Others” in Medicine Children & the Disabled: Euthanasia, pediatric, & disability ethics The Final Solution: Philosophical Anthropologies & the Impact on Medicine Christians, Conscience, & Cooperation: Moral Principles of Cooperation & Responsibility Theodicy: Medicine & Spirituality Nuremberg & the Liberation: Can we change medicine? Aftermath: Lessons Learned

  • Healing by Killing: Medicine in the Third Reich

    Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld, M.D. is the executive director of Medicine After the Holocaust, Clinical Professor of General Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, and a Lecturer at Rice University. Attachments include: The syllabus for Dr. Rubenfeld's class at Rice University Healing by Killing: Medical Ethics after the Holocaust An outline of the elective course at Baylor, Healing by Killing: Medicine during the Third Reich A paper by student Jake Keller from the 2015-2016 Baylor class Here is an excerpt: “The lecturer finished the historical portion of his talk and began bringing up examples of euthanasia today. He discussed the organization that offers drug addicts and alcoholics money to become sterilized. He continued on to the sterilization of prisoners in the United States as recent as 2010. I cannot remember the other modern examples, but I do remember the feeling of horror and disgust that this had been occurring in my backyard.” Objectives: Nazi medicine: the central role of the medical profession in the design and implementation of “Applied Biology,” the healthcare policy of Germany under National Socialism that led to the Holocaust. American eugenics: the eugenic policies generated by American eugenicists that provided moral, legal, and philanthropy support and models for German National Socialist public healthcare policy makers and physicians. Medical ethics after the Holocaust: the history of secular and Jewish medical ethics up to the Nuremberg Medical Trial, and the transformation of medical ethics into bioethics after the Nuremberg Code.

  • Students Visiting Holocaust-Related Sites

    Education about medicine and the Holocaust is vital for future doctors but very few medical schools offer lectures or study trips in their curricula. Husband and wife Dr. Esteban González-López and Rosa Rios-Cortés are among the most experienced teachers of medicine and the Holocaust in the world. Not only do they teach “The Holocaust, a Reflection from Medicine” at the Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain but they include in their curriculum a study trip  to killing centers and sites where medical experiments were conducted, such as Auschwitz . They just published an important paper, Visiting Holocaust-Related Sites with Medical Students as an Aid in Teaching Medical Ethics, in the Israel Medical Association Journal. By studying medicine during Nazi Germany, students learn a great deal about contemporary medical ethics and healthcare policy. I encourage you to read the attached article and, if at all possible, include visits to Holocaust-related sites in Europe in your own curricula.

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