This week’s HEAL event: Lisa Forsberg speaking on ‘Enhancement and lifestyle interventions, and the lawfulness of medical treatment’

In 2015, Bioethics, Meetings on March 16, 2015 at 12:57 pm

We’re delighted to be welcoming Lisa Forsberg to Southampton on Wednesday 18 March, to present on ‘Enhancement and lifestyle interventions, and the lawfulness of medical treatment’. Lisa’s seminar will run from 3-4pm in room 4055/4. All welcome.

Abstract ‘Enhancement’ procedures, or interventions that are claimed to go beyond the mere restoration of health, have received considerable attention in the ethics literature and in popular fora, but the law’s ability to accommodate such interventions has remained an underexplored topic. Parties to the ‘enhancement’ debate often proceed from the assumption that ‘enhancement’ either ‘should be legalised’, or should not be. However, it is not in fact the case that ‘enhancement’ interventions are not currently regulated. Moreover, intervetions would not, under the current legal regime, be unlawful on the basis that they were ‘enhancement’ interventions, that is, whether an intervention is appropriately designated as an ‘enhancement’ or a ‘treatment’ is not determinative of its lawfulness. Rather, decisions about whether an ‘enhancement’ intervention should be provided are largely delegated to the medical profession, or indeed individual physicians, to be made on an ad hoc basis, in accordance with their ‘professional judgement’. It remains unclear, however, how physicians’ ‘professional judgement’ is expected to help them arrive at answers that track morally relevant considerations. It is argued here, that in the absence of guidance regarding how and on what basis such decisions should be made, physicians’ decisions are unlikely to track morally relevant considerations, and that where this is the case, this may unjustifiably interfere with patient autonomy.

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