Medical Ethics

One Measured Victory Over Graft for HHS’ Project HEAT; † One Giant Headache for the Patient Safety Movement.

One Measured Victory Over Graft for HHS’ Project HEAT; † One Giant Headache for the Patient Safety Movement.

          Over one year ago, Dr. Charles Denham, former editor of the Journal of Patient Safety and co-chair of the National Quality Forum, settled the DOJ’s lawsuit alleging $11 million he received in kickbacks from Carefusion. He is to pay $1 million to settle the allegations. Curious arithmetic. Worse, Carefusion...

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Ouch! That Hurts!

Ouch! That Hurts!

  A patient is offered Vicodin (an opioid) at an E.R. for a sprained ankle and level 5 pain. Proponents of the war on drugs (which isn’t winnable) contend that this is inappropriate because of lack of efficacy and the risk of addition/tolerance. As one physician stated (without citing any studies): “Narcotics have no...

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The Prognosis: You Know the Diagnosis, Now What?

The Prognosis: You Know the Diagnosis, Now What?

The brave new world of cancer treatment – and prognostic information – was featured in the New York Times: “A Life-Death Predictor Adds to a Cancer’s Strain.” This is notable not only for the novel medical treatment but also for the revelation of practicing physicians’ ethics and the way in which new treatments are...

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An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

Suppose you learn that your mother’s longstanding memory problems have been diagnosed as “mild dementia” by her neurologist. You are witnessing her deteriorating cognitive impairment and memory loss and so you meet privately with her doctor. You learn that your mother has Alzheimer’s. The physician counsels postponing this information to your parent because he...

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How Henrietta Lacks Achieved Immortality

How Henrietta Lacks Achieved Immortality

We all benefit, at least indirectly, from scientific research. Depending upon how it is conducted, we also can be harmed by it. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is not only a highly engaging biography but a study in medical ethics that raises important, thought-provoking questions.

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Short but thought-provoking…

Short but thought-provoking…

Should those who have pledged organ donation receive preference on a transplant list, all other things being equal? Israel is introducing a law which does precisely that. This has incited much controversy because of religious beliefs, and yet pledges have greatly increased – no small result given Israel’s bottom ranking among Western countries for...

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