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Author Archive: Christian Vercler

About Christian Vercler

09/22/2014

Epistemological Uncertainty & Autonomy

In the September 17, 2014 issue of JAMA Scott Stonington, MD, PhD wrote a remarkable piece entitled “Whose Autonomy?” This short piece should be required reading for everyone in medicine. Stonington discusses the idea of family roles and puts this in light of his anthropological work in northern Thailand. He uses his fieldwork experience to introduce the idea that, when ill, people may not express... // Read More »

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09/08/2014

Limning the Limits

Shortly after I submitted my last post “Limning Autonomy in Surgery” I was contacted by the blog editor letting me know that I had made a typo in my title and that he would go ahead and correct it for me. The problem is that I really do mean to use the word “limn.” When I was at Wheaton College a couple of my professors... // Read More »

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08/25/2014

Limning Autonomy in Surgery

Several years ago while still a surgery resident I was stuck with a needle while operating on a patient with hepatitis C and HIV. The infectious disease team at that institution started me immediately on the latest anti-retroviral cocktail to decrease my chances of becoming infected with HIV. I took the cocktail for about a week and then, unable to tolerate the horrible gastrointestinal side-effects,... // Read More »

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07/14/2014

Med Student vs. Dr. Oz

Since my last post was about Dr. Oz I thought I may as well post an update: Benjamin Mazer, a medical student at the University of Rochester has introduced a policy to the Medical Society of the State of New York in an attempt to regulate the kinds of wild claims that Dr. Oz makes on his show. His proposal is to treat health claims... // Read More »

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06/30/2014

The Oz Effect

My wife remembers when Dr.  Oz was just a handsome and engaging cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She graduated from Columbia P&S the same year Mehmet Oz appeared on Oprah and began his journey to being a household name. Dr. Oz has become so popular and pervasive that any “health supplement” he endorses on his show sees a huge boost in sales: the... // Read More »

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06/16/2014

Killing a Patient to Save Whose Life?

A New York Times article a few weeks ago highlighted a clinical trial that just started in Pittsburgh. The provocative title “Killing a Patient to Save His Life” summarizes the technique that will be used on patients who present in cardiac arrest from a penetrating injury (e.g. gunshot or stab wound.) It involves replacing blood with cold saline to induce hypothermia and decrease the body’s... // Read More »

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06/02/2014

International Research Ethics

More and more research funded by high-income countries (HICs, e.g. the US) is taking place in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). For example, colleagues at my institution have received grants of over $64 million to do research in Ghana. A search of ClinicalTrials.gov shows that 20 of 29 open studies in Ghana involve women, children, and persons with HIV—all considered vulnerable populations. The obvious concern... // Read More »

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05/05/2014

Sperm Donor Problems

The New York Times published an article on Friday entitled “Does Sperm Donor Mean Dad?”  In an interesting turn, they use the sordid story of actor Jason Patric’s fight to be involved in his son’s life as a warning to those who are involved with various assisted reproductive techniques.  Noting that use of these techniques is on the rise and that they are used more and... // Read More »

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04/21/2014

Easter, Fertility, Surrogacy

Most of us who celebrated Easter yesterday likely took part in the tradition of the Easter egg hunt. The egg, an obvious symbol of fertility, is an essential part of our spring celebration. Interestingly, the subject of fertility and “social surrogacy” was the focus of an article in Elle magazine last week. The piece told the story of an aging professional who felt she needed... // Read More »

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