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02/08/2016

The CDC’s Graphic on Women and Alcohol is Flawed: Why That Matters

Elizabeth Dietz

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02/08/2016

Beware of Large Pizza Slices!

Pizza is pizza, and a full stomach is a full stomach. But when restaurants slice pizza into smaller pieces, you are probably likely to consume less pizza: The post Beware of Large Pizza Slices! appeared first on PeterUbel.com.

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02/07/2016

"That Dragon, Cancer" – A Journey of Hope in the Shadow of Death [EOL in Art 199]

“That Dragon, Cancer” is a new video game about Joel Green, a terminally ill 5-year-old, and his parents.  It sounds more (meaningfully) sad than fun.  For example, the game withholds some control from the player as an attempt to convey feelings of helplessness and despair. 

“That Dragon, Cancer” mixes animation and magical realism to convey the Greens’ emotional state during Joel’s illness. There is one dragon, but much of the game consists of re-enactments of mundanities like phone messages and hospital visits.  Water fills a room as a doctor says there are no more treatments for Joel’s cancer.   (HT: NYT)

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

02/06/2016

Room for Death [EOL in Art 198]

A new study in Social Science and Medicine, researchers report on data from a project teaming artists and craftspeople together to create prototypes of space for difficult conversations in end-of-life settings.  These prototypes were presented in...

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

02/06/2016

Bioethics and the Super Bowl (or, from the sublime to the ridiculous)

What, you ask after reading today’s title, could the Super Bowl possibly have to do with Bioethics? Maybe you thought it would be about concussions or some such concern. Well, in honor of the upcoming minor sports event this weekend, and with tongue firmly in cheek, I present the following: A study in this month’s Journal of American Health Economics found that in areas that... // Read More »

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

02/05/2016

“This is the first time I’ve been asked that question.” Hillary Clinton on PAD

Nancy Berlinger

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02/05/2016

Stingy Insurance + Low Income = Bad Combination

The Commonwealth Fund recently circulated information on the widespread difficulty many Americans have paying for their medical care, even when they have insurance. Burdened by high co-pays and high coinsurance rates, these out-of-pocket expenses are putting people on the financial … Continue reading

The post Stingy Insurance + Low Income = Bad Combination appeared first on PeterUbel.com.

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02/05/2016

CANHR v. Chapman – Final Judgment on 1418.8 IDT Process

In June 2015, the Alameda Superior Court issued an Order striking down much of California Health & Safety Code 1418.8.   This section outlines the IDT process that long-term care facilities have long used to make medical decisions for incapac...

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

02/05/2016

Part I: SEMBENE X BLACK GIRL X CAMP THIAROYRE: Domestic Slavery and Bioethics

Image: http://www.sembenefilm.com/

The 2015 film, Sembene!, is a documentary about the late writer-director, Ousman Sembene, (1923-2007). His bioethics relevant filmography begins with his first film, Black Girl (1966) and finishes with his last work, Moolaadé (2004). The documentary, Sembene!, is directed by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman. Samba was Sembene’s friend, colleague, and biographer. Sembene! was screened at the 38th Mill Valley Festival in October 2015. A stroke of programming genius also allowed patrons to view the recently restored Black Girl. Black Girl is one of the World Cinema projects preserved by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, a testament to Ousman Sembene’s stature as African Cinema’s founder. 

The structure of the movie Sembene! is formed from clips of the visually sublime, narratively sleek dramas created by the legendary filmmaker. Circumstances resulting in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) parallel Sembene’s life and work. Conscripted into the French Colonial Army, the artist subsequently served in the Free French Forces during WWII.  In 1944, a massacre perpetrated by White Colonial French soldiers resulted in the deaths of somewhere between 70 and 300 Black French African troops who had been German prisoners of war, returned to their home continent. Sembene’s film about the massacre, Camp Thiaroyre (1988), is one of his most stinging indictments of colonialism, so much so it was banned in France until 2005. 

Forced by economics to migrate to France after the war, he eventually became a Marseille dockhand. He found a home among French trade unionists, communists, anti-colonial and intellectual progressives. His back actually broken from lifting cargo, he was confined to bed. During his long recovery he read voraciously — existentialism, rebellion and the works of the Harlem Renaissance. Emerging from that period a writer, he also grasped cinema’s potential, especially for those without alphanumeric literacy. 

Raised by his grandmother, Sembene found exquisite narrative focus in his films about women and their oppression. The documentary, Sembene!, pays special attention to the bookends of the director’s film career, Black Girl and Moolaadé. Black Girl is about a Senegalese woman who worked in Africa as a nanny for a wealthy ex-patriot French family. She agrees to join them in France when they leave Africa. On the nanny’s arrival in Europe, the previously more affable employers, now on their home turf, turn the tables. The Senegalese nanny’s chores are expanded. A domestic slave, she is stripped of all dignity and the capacity to return home.

Since 1966, when Black Girl was made, 64 Million women, 15% being children, work as domestics without contracts, guarantees of labor standards, or redress of injustices. These, and the rising documentation of physical and sexual abuse, resulted in action by the International Labor Organization (ILO). In 2013, the ILO entered into force an international convention, C19, which protects domestic workers from slavery. At this writing, twenty nations have ratified the convention. The United States, though disproportionately hiring foreign born domestics, has not ratified.  Sembene’s  politically sophisticated film pre-empted the need for the ILO convention by a half century. 



See/Read:

Sembene! directed by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman (2015 ) Galle Ceddo Projects
Impact Partners, New Mexico Media Partners,SNE Partners (USA)1 hr. 22min. Available on line purchase.

Black Girl, directed by Ousman Sembene (1966) New Yorker Video (France) 65min. Available on line.

International Labor Organization Article 189: Domestic workers convention http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_INSTRUMENT_ID:2551460  accessed February 4, 2016


Claiming Rights - Domestic Workers’ Movements and Global Advances for Labor Reform https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/10/27/claiming-rights/domestic-workers-movements-and-global-advances-labor-reform Accessed February 3, 2016

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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged . Posted by September Williams, MD. Bookmark the permalink.

02/05/2016

PART II: SEMBENE! X MOOLAADÉ X DESERT FLOWER: Female Genital Mutilation and Bioethics

Sembene! Theatrical Trailer https://vimeo.com/139538743


Sembene! is a documentary co-directed by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman. The filmmaking duo uses Sembene’s screen works to bracket the life events of African cinema’s founder. The ultimate illustration of capacity for complex socially relevant, visually compelling cinema lay in Sembene’s 2004 final film, Moolaadé (Magical Protection). This is a heart wrenching story of a woman named Collé living in a fictional, locked in time, Burkina Faso village.

Collé’s is a polygamous family. She resists her daughter having female genital mutilation (FGM), colloquially called “cutting.”  She is horrified that a relative secretly ‘cut’ her youngest daughter. The mother has been steadfast in her refusal of cutting since her children were born. Now, under the pressure of impending marriage, even the bride to be elder daughter wants her mother to capitulate. The mother still refuses though, causing the bride to social ridicule. Collé’s ostracism and beatings are her reward for redefining the cultural moral high ground.

Gradually winning a few other village women over, they often gather at the radio where new thoughts are introduced by journalism and music. The men in the village are not oblivious to the radio's support of women’s rebellious acts. The glory of Moolaadé is that the fight against female genital mutilation arises from the same culture from which the horror comes. Collé fights to change the archaism within her own community. Medicine has been served well when recognizing “The people with the problem very often hold within them the solution.”

Desert Flower is a film adapted from the book of the same name by Somali born writer and human rights worker, Waris Dari. It shows the evolution of the author’s own understanding and isolation because of her FGM. Her courage is catalyzed by her European immigration and moral shifts. 

If we believe that principles in ethical decision making are weighted; and that which is not medically indicated cannot be beneficent; real life protagonists like Collé are not well served when medical practitioners consider providing ‘female circumcision.' One could argue that male circumcision is equally archaic and medically not indicated. However, incidences of known and common negative sequela are not well documented in male circumcision.

FGM is like the Nazi Sea Water experiments. The Nuremberg Code, drawn from the Nuremberg Trials is, along with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the historical underpinning of modern bioethics. The former established two major violations of human research and medical care. One was research without a scientific hypothesis. The other is doing things that don’t need to be done. The classic example is the sea water experiments. There was no need to only give people sea water to drink, not for research or for their care. Centuries of ship's logs document the effects of drinking seawater.  Another example is a 40 year observational study of the natural history of syphilis on 300 Black men in Alabama when it had long been studied in Oslo years before. 

Emerging from stigma, the documentation of the negative effects of FGM, provided by those who have had it, establishes a clear pattern. Gynecologist Dr Rosemary Mburu from the World AIDS Campaign in Kenya, reports “female genital cutting” in her work. She estimates that while 15% of cut girls die of the excessive loss of blood or wound infection, survivors have lifelong pain, including: while having sex, urinating or working. 

Mary Nyangweso Wangila's 2014 book, Female Genital Cutting in Industrialized Countries: Mutilation or Cultural Tradition?, provides an excellent analysis.   Mary makes a strong case for not pitting culture against the human consciousness movement of the last 200 years. Slavery was once an acceptable norm too, but you can’t begin to stop it if no one agrees to try.  There we are, full circle back at Sembene’s first film, Black Girl and the issue of domestic slavery. 

Both of Sembene’s bookend films, like the story directors Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman portray, deal with personhood as included in each aspect of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Sembene is both honored and dishonored by being called the father of  African Cinema… he is so much more than that. 


Watch/Read:

Sembene! directed by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman (2015 ) Galle Ceddo Projects
Impact Partners, New Mexico Media Partners,SNE Partners (USA)1 hr. 22min. Available on line purchase.


Moolaadé directed by Ousman Sembene (2004)  New Yorker Video  (France) 2hr. 4min. Available on Line available on line.

Desert Flower (directed by) Sherry Hormann (2009)  Desert Flower Film Productions (Germany)  120 mins


Wangila, Mary N. Female Genital Cutting in Industrialized Countries: Mutilation or Cultural Tradition? Prager 2016.




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This entry was posted in Health Care and tagged . Posted by September Williams, MD. Bookmark the permalink.