Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (1183)

September 28, 2014

Fair-minded Medicine

“Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:9 I attended a funeral this past week, and I spoke with a relative who is an attorney practicing patent and intellectual-property (IP) law.  Since he works closely with science and technology, I mentioned Joe Gibes’s... // Read More »
September 28, 2014

Festering Mistrust over Brain Death

I was disappointed to see this newsletter article from the Life Issues Institute and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network titled "The Market for Brain Death."   The primary focus seems to be on aid in dying, particularly involuntary or ...
September 27, 2014

Congress Urges CMS to Adequately Reimburse Physicians for Advance Care Planning

This week, 34 Members of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, to adopt recommendations that would adequately reimburse Medicare providers for having...
September 26, 2014

More on Relativity and Happiness

Recently, I wrote about relative wealth and happiness. A new NBER paper, by Stevenson and Wolfers, seems to belie this view. It shows a sharp increase in happiness with increasing income: But these data are consistent with the idea that … Continue reading
September 26, 2014

Australian Medical Association Position Statement on Medical Futility

Earlier this month, the Australian Medical Association released a new "Position Statement on End of Life Care and Advance Care Planning 2014." The statement outlines policy on issues such as medical futility, decision making capacity, advance care planning, artificial nutrition and hydration, bereavement, workforce, and community awareness.

Futile Treatment is defined as "Treatment that no longer provides a benefit to a patient or treatment where the burdens of treatment outweigh the benefits. Doctors are not required to offer treatment options they consider neither medically beneficial nor clinically appropriate."

Here are the three sections on medical futility:


"7.1  Doctors should understand the limits of medicine in prolonging life and recognise when efforts to prolong life may not benefit the patient. In end of life care, medically futile treatment can be considered to be treatment that gives no, or an extremely small, chance of meaningful prolongation of survival and, at best, can only briefly delay the inevitable death of the patient."

"7.2  Whilst doctors are generally not obliged to provide treatments that are considered medically futile, where possible it is important that the doctor discuss their reasons for determining a treatment to be medically futile with the patient (and/or the SDM, carers, family members) before deciding the treatment should not be offered."

"7.3  In some cases, a treatment may not offer a benefit in terms of curing a patient’s condition, or significantly extending life or improving quality of life, but it may benefit the patient in other ways. For example, a ‘medically futile’ treatment may briefly extend the life of the patient so he or she can achieve their wish of saying goodbye to a relative who is arriving shortly from overseas."

September 25, 2014

So when do you hope to die?

Perhaps you’ve seen it already:  the ever-more-present Dr. Emanuel has a piece in The Atlantic entitled “Why I hope to die at 75.”  Follow the link and you can read it for free online. I confess that, upon learning of the title and the author, my mind was flooded with wisecracks.  I publicly repent of those and will repeat none of them here. I don’t... // Read More »
September 25, 2014

As Doctors Lose Clout, Drug Firms Redirect the Sales Call

[The Wall Street Journal] SAN DIEGO—Kendall French used to pitch drugs to doctors who could prescribe them. But many of those doctors now work for hospitals that don’t give them final say over what is on the menu of medicines they can pick. So when the GlaxoSmithKline PLC saleswoman began plugging two new lung-disease drugs […]
September 25, 2014

Behavioral Economics and the Relativity Theory of Happiness

According to many traditional economic theories of human nature, higher income should make people happier. That’s because with every additional dollar we make, we can purchase goods that increase our “utility.” Or we can save more money, and reduce anxiety … Continue reading
September 25, 2014

Synthetic Biology: A Study in Reinvention

Gregory E. Kaebnick

September 25, 2014

Synthetic Biology: A Study in Reinvention

Gregory E. Kaebnick

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Published Articles (17)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 9 - Sep 2014

Addressing Dual Agency: Getting Specific About the Expectations of Professionalism Jon C. Tilburt

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 7 - Jul 2014

The Principle of Equivalence Reconsidered: Assessing the Relevance of the Principle of Equivalence in Prison Medicine Fabrice Jotterand & Tenzin Wangmo

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 6 - Jun 2014

Patient and Citizen Participation in Health: The Need for Improved Ethical Support Laura Williamson

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 2 - Feb 2014

Ethical Review of Health Systems Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Conceptual Exploration Adnan A. Hyder, Abbas Rattani, Carleigh Krubiner, Abdulgafoor M. Bachani & Nhan T. Tran

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 2 - Feb 2014

Connecting Health Systems Research Ethics to a Broader Health Equity Agenda Bridget Pratt

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 9 - Sep 2013

An Ethical Analysis of Mandatory Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Personnel: Implementing Fairly and Balancing Benefits and Burdens Armand H. Matheny Antommaria

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 9 - Sep 2013

Vaccine Mandates Are Justifiable Because We Are All in This Together John D. Lantos and Mary Anne Jackson

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 8 - Aug 2013

Treating Patients as Persons: A Capabilities Approach to Support Delivery of Person-Centered Care Vikki A. Entwistle & Ian S. Watt

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 8 - Aug 2013

Justice Between Age Groups: An Objection to the Prudential Lifespan Approach Nancy S. Jecker

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 8 - Aug 2013

Global Aging and the Allocation of Health Care Across the Life Span Norman Daniels

News (1974)

September 23, 2014 1:55 pm

More patients could wear regular clothing in hospital: study

Although doctors say many patients in hospitals could be wearing their own clothing below the waist, and most want to, a majority still don’t, according to a small Canadian study.

September 15, 2014 5:14 pm

Insurance giants creating massive database of patient records

Two of California’s largest health insurers are partnering to create a massive database of patient medical records.  But the system faces significant technological challenges and privacy concerns.

September 11, 2014 2:54 pm

Health Reform Watch: Study finds fewer deaths after MA health reform

In this edition of Health Reform Watch: Harvard Asst. Professor Ben Sommers explains his widely-quoted study showing a measurable drop in adult deaths in Massachusetts in the wake of the state’s health reform program, the model for the Affordable Care Act.

September 8, 2014 6:47 pm

Top U.S. health adviser wants end to partisan fighting over Obamacare

President Barack Obama’s top health adviser on Monday called for an end to partisan bickering over Obamacare, saying the public and businesses are sending a clear message to Washington that it is time to move on with implementing the law.

August 11, 2014 1:31 pm

Ethical questions emerge over who gets Ebola drug

In a development that raises a host of ethical issues, Spain announced it had obtained a scarce U.S.-made experimental Ebola drug to treat a Spanish missionary priest infected with the killer virus.

July 30, 2014 5:10 pm

Calif. Considers Bilingual Drug Labels

This week California’s Board of Pharmacy will discuss new regulations that would require all pharmacies in California to provide translated labels on prescription drug bottles.

July 22, 2014 3:23 pm

Pregnancy doesn’t drive women doctors out of surgical training

A new study disputes a common stereotype that women who become pregnant during surgical training often drop out of those training programs.

June 18, 2014 2:52 pm

Stroke 'selfie' helps save Canadian woman's life

“The sensation is happening again,” Stacey Yepes tells the camera. “It’s all tingling on left side.”

June 16, 2014 4:37 pm

U.S. health care system ranks last among 11 industrialized nations

Even though it’s the most expensive, the United States’ health care system ranks last among 11 industrialized nations in a new study that examines factors such as quality, efficiency and access to care

May 5, 2014 6:44 pm

Deaths fell after Massachusetts healthcare overhaul: study

When Massachusetts blazed the trail of healthcare reform in 2006 by expanding coverage for the poor and requiring all residents to have health insurance, it may have done more than serve as a model for nationwide reform: it also seemed to save lives, according to a study released on Monday.

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