April 3, 2012 3:53 pm
In the United States, we have 2.3 doctors for every 1,000 people, but in places like Tanzania, Africa, there is only one doctor for every 20,000 people. Our medical students and residents are increasingly committed to going to economically poor nations to volunteer and provide health care. They are willing to live in very primitive conditions in exchange for having a chance to do things in those countries that they could not do back home.
March 19, 2012 2:41 pm
There’s something different, psychologically different, about health care. Debates about reforming the way we get medical treatment (and the ways we pay for it) can get a bit otherworldly (to my mind) if they try to pretend that this difference doesn’t exist. Sheer economic and public policy reasoning just doesn’t take some very important things into account.
March 16, 2012 6:23 pm
When hospitals are short on beds in the intensive care unit, doctors are more likely to switch from life-saving care to end-of-life care, a new Canadian study shows. But it’s not clear whether that means patients die any sooner, researchers report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Even if they do, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Dr. Scott Halpern, a critical care expert at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who wrote a commentary on the findings.
March 15, 2012 9:48 pm
A student asked him just how much a CT scan cost, and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and shrugged. “I don’t really know,” he said, “but I do know that we can’t just think about the patient anymore.” He took a deep breath before continuing, “We are now being forced to consider costs.” That was 20 years ago, when the managed care movement was first in the headlines. Today his lesson still rings true, as doctors continue to struggle to reconcile cost consciousness with quality care. And doctors-to-be are not getting much help in learning how to do so.
March 15, 2012 6:16 am
The American Medical Association Code of Ethics notes that “Physicians may dispense drugs within their office practices provided such dispensing primarily benefits the patients.” It’s the medication safety issue that worries me.
March 9, 2012 2:54 pm
Greater leadership is needed from the U.S. government to protect physicians and health facilities from increased attacks in armed conflict zones like Syria, experts told members of Congress in a special briefing yesterday.
March 9, 2012 2:09 pm
A recent article by Dr. Robert D. Truog, who is executive director of the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, describes the larger, and more complex, social forces that have affected the patient-doctor relationship over the last hundred years. Writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Truog, who also teaches medical ethics at Harvard Medical School and practices intensive care medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, eloquently explains that despite the apparent widespread embrace of honesty and openness, both doctors and patients have remained resistant to full transparency — especially when it comes to discussions about costs and the inevitable need to allocate limited health care resources.