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09/02/2014

Holding Institutions Responsible for Research Misconduct: the recent case of a death of stem cell scientist

<p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span>Scientist Yoshiki Sasai, age 52, committed suicide and was found dead on August 5, 2014. Sasai was deputy director of the Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) at RIKEN in Kobe, Japan, and coauthor on two recently retracted <em>Nature </em>papers about an easier way to make induced pluripotent stem cells. The papers were retracted due to duplication and manipulation of images done by the main researcher and lead author on the two papers – Haruko Obokata. Although cleared of any direct involvement, Sasai was under immense pressure and heavily scrutinized by the media, public and peers. This involved speculation about Sasai’s intentions to orchestrate a media frenzy, and for being overly ambitious and motivated to win future grants overlooking the integrity of the science.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNoSpacing">According to colleagues at RIKEN, Sasai was receiving counseling since the scandal broke headlines and he was also hospitalized for about a month in March (1). He was found hanging in a stairwell of a neighboring building and beside him were three letters addressed to CDB management, his laboratory, and Obokata. On August 12, Kazuhiro Nakamura, the family lawyer explained the contents of Sasai’s suicide note left for the family. Sasai was “worn out by the unjust bashing in the mass media and the responsibility he felt towards RIKEN and his laboratory” (2). But unsubstantiated claims in the media were not the only source of stress for Sasai. The speculation in tabloids might have also influenced how RIKEN and other colleagues behaved towards Sasai. In June, a report released by an independent RIKEN reform committee criticized CDB leaders for hyping the science and did not interview Sasai about such accusations. Their final recommendation was to dismantle CDB. According to the family lawyer, this was a tremendous shock for Sasai (2).</p>
<p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI’s online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="color: #000099; text-decoration: underline;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong><span style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.399999618530273px;"> </span></p>

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , , . Posted by Hayley Dittus-Doria. Bookmark the permalink.

09/02/2014

Overemphasis on Errors of Unwanted Death Exacerabate Errors of Unwanted Life

In preparing for a talk in Michigan this week, I was refreshing myself on some of the key health care decisions laws from that state.  One of the most significant is the Supreme Court’s 1995 decision in In re Martin.  I love this quote:

Th…

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

09/01/2014

Is [Your Favorite Politician Here] Narcissistic Enough to Be a Good President?

I expect we all agree that the presidency is not a job for a shrinking violet.  We acknowledge that a president without self-confidence would be a disaster in the making.  But just how confident do we want our president to … Continue reading

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , . Posted by Peter Ubel. Bookmark the permalink.

09/01/2014

2014 United States Health Freedom Congress (Minnesota)

Come to Hamline University on September 26 and 27 for the 2014 Health Freedom Congress.


The 2014 United States Health Freedom Congress is the 9th national health freedom gathering hosted by NHFC.  This Congress will bring together over 40 health freedom organizations and their leaders from across the nation and numerous other leaders and general participants. Attendees will join and work together for two days. 


The first day, September 26, Voting Members of the Congress will reconvene the Congress formal circle for a limited time in the morning. This will be followed by a full day of activities with General Participants and Voting Members working closely together to discern ways to strengthen the health freedom movement. The daytime work will be followed by an evening workshop on social media entitled “Health Freedom Going Live.”


The second day, September 27, attendees will resume their work from 9:00am – 2:00pm. At 2:00pm the Health Freedom Congress will convene and participate in wrap-up. The Health Freedom Awards Banquet and Keynote speech by Barbara Loe Fisher will begin at 6:30pm Saturday evening.

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

09/01/2014

California Law on Therapeutic Obstinacy & Non-Beneficial Treatment (Video)

UCLA has posted a video of my February 2014 talk for the UCLA Health Ethics Center:  ”California Law on Therapeutic Obstinacy & Non-Beneficial Treatment.”

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

08/31/2014

What Is Driving Our Health Care?

Katie Jennings recently wrote in Politico Magazine of the American Medical Association’s role in American health care policy, particularly concerning pricing for services (see “The Secret Committee Behind Our Soaring Health Care Costs”).   Since the 1990s, an AMA committee has been in charge of determining the value of services provided by physicians, including determining Medicare prices.  Jennings points out that the committee serves as “a… // Read More »

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08/31/2014

Final Exit Network – 10 Year Anniversary

The Final Exit Network is ten years old this month.

FEN is an all-volunteer organization serving members in all 50 states who:

Are suffering from intolerable medical circumstances 
Are mentally competent
Want to end their lives
Meet FEN’s offic…

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

08/31/2014

Minnesota’s New Medical Marijuana Law: Now What?

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

08/30/2014

Religiously Affiliated ICU Patients Receive More Aggressive End-of-Life Care

A study just published in the August 2014 issue of the Journal of Surgical Research finds that religiously affiliated intensive care unit patients receive more aggressive end-of-life care in the ICU. Yet this high-intensity care does not translate…

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , . Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope. Bookmark the permalink.

08/29/2014

Influencing Young Minds

I really like teaching Duke undergraduates. They are an ambitious and intelligent group. But sometimes their ambition and intelligence get in the way of creative thinking, especially in regards to careers. They all want to remain high achievers, so they … Continue reading

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged , , , . Posted by Peter Ubel. Bookmark the permalink.