Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (5368)

August 16, 2018

Shoshana Ungerleider on End of Life (video)

Hospitalist, philanthropist, and Netflix documentary producer Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider recently joined ZDoggMD to talk about how she balances a clinical career with a passion for transforming public perception around end-of-life care.  She is the...
August 15, 2018

Human limitation and ethics

By Steve Phillips I recently read Cody Chambers’ article “The Concept of Limitation in Emil Brunner’s Ethics” in Ethics in Conversation from the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. The article is well done and you need to read it to get the full impact of what he has said. What resonated with me was …

Continue reading "Human limitation and ethics"

August 15, 2018

Alex Pierce - Family in Brain Death Conflict Settles for $11 Million

In the summer of 2016, 13-year-old Alex Pierce drowned in a Murrieta, California high school pool. Although clinicians at the local hospital diagnosed Alex as dead (by neurological criteria), his family disputed that diagnosis in court. There were...
August 15, 2018

Vermont Death and Dying Symposium

The Vermont Death and Dying Symposium  is September 21-23, 2018. 

This symposium is about death and dying. It is open to all who are interested in learning more about death and dying or for those who are already immersed in this way of life either through experience or vocation. Yes, we will cry, yes, we will laugh and yes, your jaw will drop at some of the conversations! 

Attendees who have never had open and honest conversation, end-of-life training or direct experience with death or dying are encouraged to attend at least one Death Café (at any location- they are free) just so you can begin to get comfortable with open conversation about death!

The purpose for this symposium is to create a more empathic society through studies and conversation about death and dying. This weekend will have plenty of space for those who wish to have a light retreat and plenty of socialization for those who want to engage.

Topics for this symposium run three tracks, education, meditation / contemplation and art,


Disposition and Natural Burial (what are your options?)
Post-Mortem Physical Care for Your Own Loved One
Herbal Support for the Dying (and care taker)


Early Morning Meditation in Cemetery
Dissolution of the Body Meditation (requires interview)
Medieval Labyrinth Walking Through Life and Death
Danse Macabre Saturday Evening


Turning Trauma to Curiosity with Author Erica Buist
Mourning Jewelry (taking orders- bring fabric from your deceased loved one. Special orders are separate fee)
Willow Casket and Urn Weaving Demonstration
Carving Memories in Wood (urns, door frames and more)

August 14, 2018

Medical Aid In Dying In Hawaii: Appropriate Safeguards Or Unmanageable Obstacles?

Mara Buchbinder and I have a new piece in the Health Affairs Blog: "Medical Aid In Dying In Hawaii: Appropriate Safeguards Or Unmanageable Obstacles?" On April 5, 2018, Hawaii became the eighth jurisdiction in the United States to affirmatively author...
August 13, 2018

Clinical Ethics on Film - A Guide for Medical Educators

Those teaching bioethics often use film to illustrate and frame issues for discussion. Sara Rosenthal has a new guideClinical Ethics on Film - A Guide for Medical Educators.

End of Life on Film

If I Were Restricted to One Film: Wit (2001)

It’s Really About Quinlan and Cruzan: Whose Life Is It, Anyway? (1981)

Closure and Family Systems: My Life (1993)

“Bye, Bye Life”: All That Jazz (1979)

Films About Competency and Decision-Making Capacity

One Eye and an Alphabet: Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

Competency and Psychiatry Ethics: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Dementia and Capacity: Still Alice (2014)

Films About Beneficence

“Am I a Good Man, or a Bad Man”? The Elephant Man (1980)

Pediatric Ethics and the Limits of Parental Authority: Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)

Weighing Clinical Goods Over Clinical Harms: Awakenings (1990)

August 12, 2018

Large Majority of Clinicians Report Providing Futile or Potentially Inappropriate Interventions

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine have published "Association of Perceived Futile or Potentially Inappropriate Care With Burnout and Thoughts of Quitting Among Health-Care Providers" in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.&nbs...
August 11, 2018

Why Oncologists Should Decline to Participate in the Right to Try Act

I just published my 8th Law and Ethics in Oncology column in the ASCO Post: "Why Oncologists Should Decline to Participate in the Right to Try Act." 

On May 30, 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017. This law creates an additional and alternative pathway for patients with a “life-threatening disease or condition” to access investigational medicines outside the clinical trial system. Since there are more than 1,100 cancer medicines currently under investigation, this law will materially impact oncology patients and clinicians. Specifically, because of the sense of hope and expectation that the new law has created, increasing numbers of patients with cancer will be asking their oncologists questions about the Right to Try Act.

Here, we offer guidance on how oncologists should respond to these questions and outline strong concerns regarding the right-to-try program. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) long-standing expanded access program to investigational drugs—also referred to as compassionate use—already provides a way for patients to access unapproved medicines outside a clinical trial, offering all the same benefits as the right-to-try law with fewer risks. Because the extra risks posed by the Right to Try Act are not offset by any countervailing benefit, it would be unethical for oncologists to use it to gain access to an experimental drug for their patients.

August 10, 2018

Inside a High School Bioethics Club

I founded a bioethics club at my high school in the beginning of my sophomore year. From a very young age, I always considered it important to do the “right thing.” However, as I grew older and was confronted with more complex situations, I realized that the “right thing” is not always obvious. I found… Read more

The post Inside a High School Bioethics Club appeared first on The Hastings Center.

August 10, 2018

7th Advance Care Planning International Conference

The 7th Advance Care Planning International Conference will be in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from March 14 to 16, 2019.

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Published Articles (80)

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 9 Issue 2 - Jun 2018

Cross-cultural perspectives on decision making regarding noninvasive prenatal testing: A comparative study of Lebanon and Quebec Hazar Haidar, Meredith Vanstone, Anne-Marie Laberge, Gilles Bibeau, Labib Ghulmiyyah & Vardit Ravitsky

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 9 Issue 2 - Jun 2018

How acceptable is paternalism? A survey-based study of clinician and nonclinician opinions on paternalistic decision making Kunal Bailoor, Thomas Valley, Chithra Perumalswami, Andrew G. Shuman, Raymond DeVries & Darin B. Zahuranec

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 5 - May 2018

What's in a Name? The Ethical Importance of Respecting a Patient's “Unexplained” Medical Concerns Kayhan Parsi & Nanette Elster

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

Disorders of Consciousness, Agency, and Health Care Decision Making: Lessons From a Developmental Model Megan S. Wright, Claudia Kraft, Michael R. Ulrich & Joseph J. Fins

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

When Does Consciousness Matter? Lessons From the Minimally Conscious State Joseph Vukov

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

“God is the giver and taker of life”: Muslim beliefs and attitudes regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia Chaïma Ahaddour, Stef Van den Branden & Bert Broeckaert

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 3 - Mar 2018

The Default Position: Optimizing Pediatric Participation in Medical Decision Making Aleksandra E. Olszewski & Sara F. Goldkind

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 3 - Mar 2018

Pediatric Participation in Medical Decision Making: Optimized or Personalized? Maya Sabatello, Annie Janvier, Eduard Verhagen, Wynne Morrison & John Lantos

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 2 - Feb 2018

I, My Love, and Apps Craig Klugman

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 1 - Jan 2018

From “Longshot” to “Fantasy”: Obligations to Pediatric Patients and Families When Last-Ditch Medical Efforts Fail Elliott Mark Weiss & Autumn Fiester

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News (2101)

August 13, 2018 3:56 am

Cancer: one in four too scared to seek medical help over symptom (The Guardian)

Despite discovering a potential symptom of cancer, half the UK population would not seek medical help with many too afraid that they may be wasting a doctor’s time by raising it. In addition, one in four people would not bother having a symptom examined for fear of what the doctor might find, according to a new survey by Populus. Similarly, one in five (21%) adults – 18% of men and 25% of women – would put off acting on their discovery through worry that they would be wasting a doctor’s time.

August 7, 2018 9:00 am

Tickborne Diseases — Confronting a Growing Threat (The New England Journal of Medicine)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of reported cases of tickborne disease has more than doubled over the past 13 years.

August 1, 2018 3:00 am

Bill Of The Month: A Plan For Affordable Gender-Confirmation Surgery Goes Awry (NPR)

After mother and daughter complained about the last-minute surprise, a hospital representative offered a solution: If they paid out of pocket and in full before Vetens’ surgery — forgoing their use of insurance — the hospital would accept just $20,080, assuring them the hospital would charge nothing to Vetens’ insurer. But if they did not decide and pay up right away, the surgery would be canceled. “I certainly felt that I had no choice,” Vetens said.

July 26, 2018 12:35 pm

Clean, Sober and $41,000 Deep in Out-of-Pocket Addiction Recovery Costs (The New York Times)

People recovering from opioid addiction and their families discuss the financial and emotional costs of treatment.

July 5, 2018 7:56 am

Ageing Japan: Robots' role in future of elder care (Reuters)

Robots have the run of Tokyo’s Shin-tomi nursing home, which uses 20 different models to care for its residents. The Japanese government hopes it will be a model for harnessing the country’s robotics expertise to help cope with a swelling elderly population and dwindling workforce.

July 2, 2018 7:41 am

Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements In Kentucky (NPR)

A federal judge has blocked work requirements for Medicaid patients in Kentucky, just days before new rules mandated by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration were set to go into effect.

July 2, 2018 7:37 am

Rising Cost Of PrEP To Prevent HIV Infection Pushes It Out Of Reach For Many (NPR)

Public health officials are expanding efforts to get the HIV prevention pill into the hands of those at risk, in a nationwide effort to curb infections. But the officials are hitting roadblocks — the drug’s price tag, which has surged in recent years, and changes in insurance coverage that put a heftier financial burden on patients.

June 25, 2018 9:15 am

Google’s A.I. Can Predict Death Of Patients With 95% Accuracy (FossBytes)

Google’s work in artificial intelligence is moving at a remarkable pace in the health sector. In a recent breakthrough, Google decided to compete with hospital’s old machines to predict a patient’s death and came up with astonishing results, subtly hinting us about the future of A.I.

June 7, 2018 9:00 am

What Explains The Rising Overdose Rate Among Latinos? (NPR)

Opioid overdose deaths among Latinos are surging nationwide as well. While the overall death toll is still higher for whites, it’s increasing faster for Latinos and blacks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Latino fatalities increased 52.5 percent between 2014 and 2016 as compared to 45.8 percent for whites. (Statisticians say counts for Hispanics are typically underestimated by 3 to 5 percent.) The most substantial hike was among blacks — 83.9 percent.

June 6, 2018 9:00 am

To be herself, she needs to change her body. But first, comes the battle with insurers (CNN)

The Trump administration has signaled its intention in recent months to rewrite a federal rule that bars health care discrimination based on gender identity. In its current form, that rule is one of the precious few tools transgender patients have to fight insurance denials for various medical treatments and procedures that fall under the broad umbrella of gender-affirming or transition-related care. Even with the rule in place, Jasmine and four other patients in different states detailed protracted battles for coverage.

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