Today’s seminar was led by Toby Haeusermann and Celeste Fong, discussing a recent review they wrote with fellow Decision Lab member, Cailin Lechner, on the book The Origins of Bioethics: Remembering When Medicine Went Wrong by John A. Lynch. They presented an overview of the three case studies included in the book (the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the Willowbrook Hepatitus Study, and the Cincinnati Whole Body Radiation Study), followed by a summary of how, and why, the author depicted public remembrance of the events as either minimal remembrance or meaningful forgetting.

The primary criticism of the book is that it is less about the history of bioethics as a field as much as it is an analysis of how bioethics events are presented to the public to foster remembrance (or perhaps, forgetting). As such, the discussion gravitated towards how institutions and the public could best present bioethics cases honestly, with an accepting of responsibility and duty to improve without instilling unwarranted fear or mistrust in the community.