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Saving Superman: Ethics and Stem Cell Research


Doug M. Post (rr)
Family Medicine
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Doug Knutson
Family Medicine
The Ohio State University College of Medicine


This case explores the political and ethical issues associated with stem cell research. Students read the case describing Christopher Reeve’s accident and injuries and his advocacy for stem cell research along with background readings on stem cells and the ethics of stem cell research. They are then assigned to one of four stakeholder groups and asked to develop a position on whether or not the U.S. Senate should expand stem cell research with a focus on the ethics underlying the issue.  They present their positions in class in a simulated public hearing.


  • Identify and discuss principles of medical ethics as they apply to the topic of stem cell research.
  • Work through a position related to stem cell research.
  • Formulate an argument that supports a particular position on stem cell research and discuss this perspective in a simulated public hearing.


Stem cells; stem cell research; embryonic stem cells; adult stem cells; medical ethics; bioethics; Christopher Reeve

Topical Areas

Ethics, Policy issues, Social issues

Educational Level

Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program)



Type / Methods

Dilemma/Decision, Public Hearing, Role-Play, Student Presentations



Subject Headings

Medicine (General)  |   Biology (General)  |  

Date Posted


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