Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (3108)

May 23, 2016

Making End-of-Life Care More Scientific

The Philadelphia Inquirer has an important story covering the FIELDS (Fostering Improvement in End-of-life Decision Science) program at PENN. Scott Halpern observes: "Everyone recognizes the problems that pervade end-of-life care and, because of ...
May 22, 2016

British Court of Protection Decides Another Medical Futility Case

Perhaps nowhere in the world other than the UK is there a more developed body of published, reasoned jurisprudence on when clinicians can stop life-sustaining treatment over family objections. In In re O, the 58-year old patient suffered a severe hyp...
May 21, 2016

Ninth Circuit Cautious about Brain Death Stay

In the Aden Hailu case in Nevada, the hospital kept a dead body in its ICU for seven months.  Seven months!  This was the result of numerous stays from the trial and supreme court pending the outcome of litigation. In contrast, in the ong...
May 21, 2016

4% to 5% of Patients Are Incapacitated and Unrepresented

Available US estimates are that 5% of critically ill patients in the hospital are incapacitated and unrepresented.  A new audit of UK hospitals finds that the rate there is similar, 4%.  
May 20, 2016

Roundup Ready® Humans

Everyone is familiar with Roundup®, arguably the most well-known of any herbicide in the world and my favorite gardening tool. What may be less well known is that Monsanto has created a line of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are resistant to their famous herbicide. Called Roundup Ready®, soybeans in this product line can essentially take a bath in Roundup and still grow up to... // Read More »
May 20, 2016

New Case - Lawson v. VCU Medical Center

A Virginia court has issued a temporary injunction ordering VCU Medical Center to continue life-sustaining medical treatment for Miranda Grace Lawson.  Virginia law is relatively unique in the United States in terms of empowering clinicians to re...
May 20, 2016

Fonseca v. Kaiser - Briefing on Stay from Ninth Circuit

Since the district court's stay expires tomorrow, the parties in the Fonseca v. Kaiser brain death dispute have submitted briefing on an "Emergency Motion under Circuit Rule 27-3."  I have posted the briefs filed on May 19. The Ninth Circuit s...
May 20, 2016

Fabricating Man

It has been reported that last week, a group of scientists met in a closed-door session at Harvard Medical School to discuss concrete steps and industry involvement to achieve the goal of synthesizing—creating in the laboratory—an entire human genome, and putting it into a cell, within 10 years.  Reportedly led by Harvard’s George Church, a leader and chief enthusiast of the technical prospects of genetic... // Read More »
May 19, 2016

Peer Comparison Can Reduce Antibiotic Prescribing

Very interesting article in the Lancet recently, from the nudge unit in the United Kingdom. They give physicians feedback on how much they prescribed antibiotics compared to their peers, and found that such feedback reduced antibiotic prescriptions. I hope to … Continue reading

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May 19, 2016

New Georgia Case - Parents Will Not Consent to DNR for Dinah Whited

Dinah Whited is just 2 months old.  She is on life support.  But both her parents are in jail, accused of injuring the child.  Consequently, they are unwilling to consent to a DNR order. This is an all-too-common end-of-life conflict sc...

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Published Articles (22)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 1 - Jan 2016

Professional Judgment and Justice: Equal Respect for the Professional Judgment of Critical-Care Physicians David Magnus & Norm Rizk

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 10 - Oct 2015

Do Patients Want to Participate in Decisions About Their Own Medical Care? John D. Lantos

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 4 - Apr 2015

Ideology and Microbiology: Ebola, Science, and Deliberative Democracy Joseph J. Fins

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 2 - Feb 2015

Collectivizing Rescue Obligations in Bioethics Jeremy R. Garrett

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 2 - Feb 2015

Rethinking the Rescue Paradigm Kayhan Parsi

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

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News (2011)

May 17, 2016 8:29 am

Should Your Doctor Ask If You Own Guns? (Time)

Doctors routinely ask if you smoke, and counsel you to wear your seat belt when you’re in a car. Technically, either behavior isn’t any of their business, but they do fall under the umbrella of preventive care. Now Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the violence prevention research program at the University of California Davis, and his colleagues want to add firearms to the office visit for similar reasons.

May 13, 2016 8:41 am


Andrew Levy’s parents knew that the rare and deadly cancer in his blood could not be
beaten, so they began to prepare for the worst. Then something mysterious happened.

May 4, 2016 9:44 am

Medical errors may be third leading cause of death in the U.S. (CNN)

You’ve heard those hospital horror stories where the surgeon removes the wrong body part or operates on the wrong patient or accidentally leaves medical equipment in the person they were operating on. Even scarier, perhaps, is a new study in the latest edition of BMJ suggesting most medical errors go unobserved, at least in the official record.

May 3, 2016 10:11 am

For Hospitals, Prestige Leads To Profits (Kaiser Health News)

When it comes to hospitals, which benefit most from high health care prices? It may sound counter-intuitive, but a group of not-for-profit hospitals appear to be among those doing the best business.

April 27, 2016 8:00 am

Letters Telling Women About Breast Density Are Often Too Darn Dense (NPR)

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

April 19, 2016 8:53 am

Study Backs Pancreas Cell Transplants for Severe Diabetes

Transplants of insulin-producing pancreas cells are a long hoped-for treatment for diabetes — and a new study shows they can protect the most seriously ill patients from a life-threatening complication of the disease, an important step toward U.S. approval.

April 13, 2016 10:11 am

IBM and American Cancer Society Want to Create the Ultimate Cancer Advisor

IBM and the American Cancer Society are launching a new partnership that will combine the power of Big Blue’s cognitive computing platform, Watson, with the wealth of cancer research and patient support services provided by the non-profit organization.

April 5, 2016 10:11 am

The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain

African Americans are routinely under-treated for their pain compared with whites, according to research. A study released Monday sheds some disturbing light on why that might be the case.

March 30, 2016 11:12 am

Is Ebola Hiding in the Eyes of Survivors?

Some West Africans who have beat the deadly disease are now going blind—and doctors, unsure if treatment would unleash the virus back into the population, are powerless to help them.

March 17, 2016 8:33 am

New CDC Guidelines Seek Doctors' Help In Fighting Opioid Epidemic

In an effort to curb America’s deadly opioid crisis, federal health officials are urging doctors to largely avoid prescribing highly addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin when treating patients for chronic pain.

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