Vol 13, Iss 4 – Dec 2021

We are proud to present the December 2021 issue, the fourth and last issue of this year’s volume 13.

We are particularly honoured to publish our first paper that pertains to Bhutan, or more specifically to the plight of Bhutanese refugees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, Tanner McGuire, Daniel Yozwiak and Julie Aultman offer the first of two papers to be published in two consecutive issues of the journal that examine the mental health needs of resettled Bhutanese refugees in the United States. In this first paper, the authors give an account of the history and reported experiences of members of the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese population who have participated in other pieces of research. Through a qualitative systematic review of the literature and a comparison of the experiences of Bhutanese refugees and other refugee populations going through resettlement processes, this paper reveals both specific social determinants impacting mental health for the Bhutanese refugees as well as similarities across refugee groups. This evidence base lays the foundation for a public health justice framework and recommendation that form the second paper that will appear in our journal in January 2022.

The Asian Bioethics Review has made extensive efforts to publish accounts relating to various country responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, analysed and assessed through various critical bioethical lenses. However, the experiences of citizens themselves have featured less prominently and therefore the paper by Salma Siddiqui and Azher Hameed Qamar is particularly valuable, as it captures and analyses evidence from Pakistani citizens. As well as recounting what are – by now – some globally-common and understandable reactions to the threat of infection and to government-imposed restrictions on liberty and free movement, this paper also provides insights in the influences of Islamic beliefs about what the pandemic might represent and how people of the Muslim faith should respond. Equally, the paper raises important wider questions about how to strike a balance between the religious interpretation of scriptural sources and the public health implications and diktats of dealing with a pandemic such as COVID-19 in countries that follow Islam.

In a further example of empirical research that reveals insights to citizens’ moral awareness, the paper by Nader Ghotbi and Manh Tung Ho builds on their earlier work to examine the attitudes of college students in Japan towards artificial intelligence (AI). In contrast to much of the work published to date on the ethics of AI, which often engages in discussion of the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of developments in AI itself and potential applications, this extensive study of almost 500 college students in Japan – two-thirds of whom were non-Japanese citizens – reveals a range of concerns prioritised from a list of ethical issues provided by the authors and on which the students were invited to reflect critically. The overarching conclusion is that robust moral awareness among this cohort was rather limited, and the recommendation is made that more curriculum development is required on the ethics of AI. 

The final original article in this issue is by Cedric Tang, and offers a medico-legal analysis of pharmaceutical dispensing errors in Hong Kong. This paper is a very good example of how legal systems influence and infect each other across the globe, while it also provides a well-grounded normative case for discussing how Hong Kong should respond to liability arising from errors in dispensing medicine against the backdrop of a discussion of local developments, regulatory approaches and Hong Kong’s own cultural context.

The two perspective papers in this issue continue the sub-theme of personal reflections and lived experiences of dealing with bioethical issues. Thus, the paper by Nicholas Salupo, Leland Cancilla, Sharon Merryman and Jeffrey Kaufhold presents the experiences of a Bioethics Consultation Service in an urban hospital in the United States in the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting to some extent the paper by Siddiqui and Qamar in capturing early experience of reacting to this new global threat. As well as noting a significant increase in the incidence of bioethics consults and an account of the nature of the consults themselves, the paper is analytically valuable for its reflections on how the service was affected by the advent of the pandemic and for what these experiences mean for our understandings of vulnerability during such times of crisis.

Finally, the paper by Toh and colleagues reports on religious perspectives pertaining to precision medicine in Singapore in the wake of the launch of the National Precision Medicine Strategy. In something of a variation on more standard engagement exercises with publics, the authors held a workshop to seek the views of religious authorities in Singapore, inviting them to share their perspectives on precision medicine more generally, and on data sharing more specifically with public and private sectors organizations.

Our publisher Springer Nature allows you to read all articles online for free, even if you do not have a subscription to ABR – simply click on the title. Additionally:

  • Free2Read articles can be downloaded and printed as well, if you have a subscription.
  • Free or Open Access articles can be downloaded and printed, even without a subscription.
  • Our articles since 2018 are also accessible via PubMed Central (PMC), where they become Free Access after 12 months.

The copyright of Free2Read and Free Access articles is shared by Springer Nature and the National University of Singapore. The copyright of Open Access articles remains with the respective authors.

Editorial – Free Access
Widening the Reach of Bioethics Scholarship
Graeme T. Laurie
December 2021 – 13(4): 371-374 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00186-y

Original Article – Free Access
The Mental Health of Refugees during a Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Resettled Bhutanese Refugees
Tanner McGuire, Daniel Yozwiak, and Julie Aultman
December 2021 – 13(4): 375-399 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00183-1

Original Article – Open Access
Risk Perception and Protective Behavior in the Context of COVID-19: a Qualitative Exploration
Salma Siddiqui, and Azher Hameed Qamar
December 2021 – 13(4): 401-420 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00181-3

Original Article – Free2Read
Moral Awareness of College Students regarding Artificial Intelligence
Nader Ghotbi, and Manh Tung Ho
December 2021 – 13(4): 421-433 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00182-2
Free Access from 1 December 2022 via PMC8486910

Original Article – Free2Read
Liability for Dispensing Errors in Hong Kong
Cedric Tang
December 2021 – 13(4): 435-462 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00175-1
Free Access from 1 December 2022 via PMC8486902

Perspective – Free Access
The Grandview Medical Center Bioethics Consultation Service Perspectives on the Peril of Isolated and Vulnerable Individuals due to COVID-19
Nicholas Salupo, Leland Cancilla, Sharon Merryman, and Jeffrey Kaufhold
December 2021 – 13(4): 463-471 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00177-z

Perspective – Open Access
Religious Perspectives on Precision Medicine in Singapore
Hui Jin Toh, Angela Ballantyne, Serene Ai Kiang Ong, Chitra Sankaran, Hung Yong Tay, Malminderjit Singh, Raza Zaidi, Roland Chia, Sarabjeet Singh, Swami Samachittananda, Young Guang Shi, Zhixia Tan, and Tamra Lysaght
December 2021 – 13(4): 473-483 – doi: 10.1007/s41649-021-00180-4

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