“Racial profiling” in Medicine…

While “racial profiling” in medicine has generated significant discussion in medical and bioethics circles, it has thus far gained relatively little attention in legal literature. This Article aims to develop the discourse concerning this important topic. It argues that “race-based” medicine is an inappropriate and perilous approach. The argument is rooted partly in the fact that the concept of “race” is elusive and has no reliable definition in medical science, the social sciences, and the law.  Does “race” mean color, national origin, continent of origin, culture, or something else? What about the millions of Americans who are of mixed ancestral origins—to what “race” do they belong? To the extent that “race” means “color” in colloquial parlance, should physicians decide what testing to conduct or treatment to provide based simply on their visual judgment of the patient’s skin tone? “Race,” consequently, does not constitute a valid and sensible foundation for research or therapeutic decision-making.

Sharona Hoffman. “‘Racially-Tailored’ Medicine Unraveled,”American University Law Review. 2005, Volume 55, Number 2, pages 395-452. http://www.aulawreview.org/pdfs/55/55-2/hoffman.pdf.

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