Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (1150)

September 18, 2014

“Financial Toxicity”

Reflecting on cases from her own practice, a practicing oncologist recently suggested this in the Journal of Clinical Oncology:  consider high price a “toxicity,” or adverse side effect, of an expensive drug for cancer, just like nausea, infections, or having one’s hair fall out are toxicities.  Cancer doctors, especially in clinical trials, assess the severity of drug toxicities using an internationally-accepted, periodically-updated scale developed by... // Read More »
September 18, 2014

Better to Be Dead than Disabled?

The disability rights group Not Dead Yet is leading a three-day protest vigil against the World Federation of Right to Die Societies which is holding a meeting that I am attending in Chicago.  

Disability rights advocates have certainly expressed some valid concerns about the expansion of options to hasten death.  Legislators, regulators, and clinicians should seriously grapple with concerns like risks of bias and coercion.  

Unfortunately, the disability groups reach far beyond their valid concerns to make hyperbolic comments.  For example, Not Dead Yet president Diane Coleman stated: "We are here to contradict the message of these groups that it’s better to be dead than disabled."  

That is emphatically not the message of any group attending this meeting.  The core thesis of this meeting is that particular individuals, after careful deliberation, may determine that in their own situation they want to avoid the effects of advanced illnesses like severe dementia.  They would rather die than live a life that they find intolerable. 

There has not been a single suggestion about what individuals ought to choose.  The focus remains on what individuals may choose, on what they have a right to choose for themselves.

September 18, 2014

Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life (IOM 2014)

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine released its 500-page report, Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life. A substantial body of evidence shows that broad improvements to end-of-life care are within reach. In Dying ...
September 17, 2014

Ebola and the cultural understanding of disease

Last night the student group that works with the Center for Ethics at Taylor University sponsored a discussion of the ethical issues related to the current Ebola outbreak in western Africa. They discussed issues including when it can be appropriate to use an experimental treatment that has not been tested for safety in humans, how to decide who should be given an experimental treatment that... // Read More »
September 17, 2014

Just Published Hastings Center Report Highlights “Teaching Bioethics”

(This post also appears on Bioethics Forum.) The topic “teaching bioethics” is highlighted and explored in the newly published issue of the Hastings Center Report, which contains a set of essays developed collaboratively by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and The Hastings Center. The set’s introductory essay acknowledges that basic bioethics […]
September 17, 2014

Just Published Hastings Center Report Highlights “Teaching Bioethics”

Hillary Wicai Viers
September 17, 2014

What’s Really Scary about Obamacare

This cartoon made the rounds of twitter a few weeks ago, and was first brought to my attention by Timothy McBride (@mcbridetd). But it is such an entertaining cartoon, I thought I would circulate it again: For all its flaws, … Continue reading
September 17, 2014

Prevalence of Non-Beneficial ICU Treatment

The Ventura County Star has a new story and a poll on medical futility.  In addition to recounting the widely discussed UCLA research, health care reporter Tom Kisken interviews clinicians at other Southern California hospitals. "I think it happe...
September 17, 2014

International Resource Library on Adult Guardianship

The 3rd World Congress on Adult Guardianship recently convened in Washington, DC. One of the goals of this Congress was to form an online International Resource Library on Adult Guardianship.  That resource is now available here.

The organizers are also looking for more submissions, including papers, brochures, manuals, handbooks and more, are welcome if they would be of help to others.  Submissions may be made by emailing with the subject line “resource library.” Please provide, in English, a description regarding the document(s) you send, so that they can name and categorize them. 

September 16, 2014

A call for “new rules” for Internet-based research

The John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics put out a press release today, announcing the pre-release of an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: In Wake of Uproar Over Facebook’s Emotional Manipulation Study, Bioethics Scholars Say New Rules Are a “Moral Imperative” It’s not actually news, many would agree, but good […]