Holocaust, Medical Experts to Discuss Evolution of Medical Ethics from World War II to the Present

HOUSTON, TX (Nov. 9, 2005) – The evolution of medical ethics since the Holocaust will be the focus of a Nov. 16 panel discussion featuring three nationally recognized experts on the topic.

Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld, a clinical professor at Baylor College of Medicine, will moderate the discussion on “Medical Ethics: From the Holocaust to the Present” beginning at 7 p.m. in the Herzstein Theater at Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline St.

Also participating on the panel will be Dr. Alan Wells, senior research associate at the American Medical Association’s Institute for Ethics, and Dr. Patricia Heberer, historian with the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Nazi Germany has been described as a “biocracy,” a national culture that justified the killing of millions of “undesirable” individuals through appeals to pseudo-science and eugenics. Within that framework, healers became killers, and medical research evolved into torture.

The international reaction against these Nazi war crimes of a medical nature became an important impetus for medical ethics in the 20th century.

The panel will analyze the significance of the Holocaust to modern medical ethics by tracing historical events to actual codes of professional behavior, discuss how the codes of ethics developed in response to Nazi war crimes of a medical nature affect practice and research today, discuss the origins of the principles of respect for patients and patient autonomy, and reflect on how professional standards have come to protect vulnerable populations.

Physicians who attend the program are eligible for one Category 1 credit toward the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award.

Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004.

For more information on the program, contact Tamara Savage at 713-942-8000, ext. 104 or e-mail tsavage@hmh.org.

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Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

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Museum Hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

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$8 for active-duty military and AARP members
Free for children, students and college-level students with valid ID
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