Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (638)

April 16, 2014

Patient Modesty: Volume 65

And the discussion continues.  From Paul writing to Volume 64:I wonder what women in general, as well as female nurses ,female techs, and other female providers would think if the gender numbers were reversed?Imagine you go in for a routine exam w...
April 15, 2014

Look How Much Medicare Spends after Patients Leave the Hospital

As readers of this blog know, Medicare costs loom large in our nation’s future. If we do not find a way to control Medicare spending, it’s hard to imagine any way to remain a solvent nation. As we continue to … Continue reading
April 15, 2014

International Conference on End of Life: Law, Ethics, Policy and Practice - ABSTRACT DEADLINE

From August 13-15  2014, the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia will be hosting the International Conference on End of Life: Law, Ethics, Policy and Practice.  The call for abstracts closes Wednesday, April 30.








ICEL 2014 will provide a global forum at which health law scholars, bioethicists, legal and health practitioners, and health law and bioethics institutions can meet to discuss and present on law, ethics, policy and practice relating to the end of life. Abstracts on the conference’s four sub-themes are particularly welcome:
  • Withholding and withdrawal of potentially life-sustaining treatment (e.g. advance care planning, futile treatment)
  • Palliative care and terminal sedation
  • Euthanasia and assisted suicide
  • Determination of death and organ and tissue donation

Here are some highlights:
  • Debate on ethics of euthanasia and assisted suicide -- Professor Peter Singer, Princeton University & Assistant Professor Charles Camosy, Fordham University
  • How we die -- Dr Peter Saul, John Hunter Hospital & Professor Michael Ashby, Royal Hobart Hospital and Southern Tasmania Health Organisation (THO)
  • Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment -- Professor Jocelyn Downie, Dalhousie University
  • Panel sessions: Comparative flash points in end of life law, ethics and policy
  • Terminal sedation -- Professor Shelia McLean, Glasgow University
  • Determination of death -- Dr Dale Gardiner, Nottingham University Hospitals
  • Assisted death practice: Research from around the world

April 15, 2014

Despite the Risks, and Because of Them, the FDA Should Permit Recycling Medical Implants

Arthur L. Caplan
April 15, 2014

Sorry Kid, But Your Mom’s in Jail for Having You

by Patricia Mayer, MD, Bioethics Program Alumna (2009) Last week the Tennessee legislature voted to approve a bill that criminalizes drug use in pregnancy. Mothers can now be charged with criminal assault if a child is born addicted, harmed or dies as a result of pre-natal use of narcotics. The bill, amended to preclude charges […]
April 15, 2014

New Video Highlights the Need for a Plan When it Comes to Incidental Findings

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has posted its latest video, in which Commission Members discuss their report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts. In the three minute piece, Members highlight the essential message of the report on the [...]
April 15, 2014

A Doctor's First Words to a Patient




“Interesting belt — where did you get that?”

“I see you are from Youngstown. The key question is, are you a Steelers fan or a Browns fan?”


Daniel R. Wolpaw, M.D., and Dan Shapiro, Ph.D. writing a Perspective article titled "The Virtues of Irrelevance" in the April 3 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine present these as examples of possible opening remarks by a physician to a patient who appears with a medical problem.  The authors suggest that remarks such as these serve 4 "key purposes"  from the physician's point of view which, in establishing the doctor-patient relationship provide "ways to establish the connections that allow us to actually care for the person in front of us."  They explain: "First, they convey that we see the patient as a unique individual. Given the speed of medical practice, it is not surprising that patients worry that their individual concerns will not be heard. Second, these questions reveal that we have had shared experiences, that despite our training and attire we are not so different from the patient. Third, they communicate that we are observant and attending to details, which patients find comforting. And finally, they indicate that we are open to a conversation with the patient."


I am not going to start out with a detailed discussion on my part regarding the pros and cons of a physician beginning the doctor-patient relationship with what might seem as irrelevant communication. What I want to read is what my visitors to this thread think should be the opening question by a physician to their patient: "Tell me about your concerns" or something to that effect or instead to begin with "irrelevance" ..Maurice.



Graphic: Via Google Images from Wall Street Journal by Linzie Hunter and modified by me with Picasa 3.
April 14, 2014

The Changing Legal Climate for Physician Aid in Dying

Posted today and available for free from JAMA:  "The Changing Legal Climate for Physician Aid in Dying." A summary of the trend toward legalization that I prepared with David Orentlicher and Ben Rich.
April 14, 2014

On Parenting Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Shooter

Andrew Solomon wrote a wonderful article in the New Yorker recently about Adam Lanza’s father and his search for answers to his son’s awful behavior. The piece included a quote I thought I would share with you today: All parenting … Continue reading
April 14, 2014

Visualizing Empathy: An interview with Laura Ferguson

Artist Laura Ferguson developed a lifelong passion for drawing the body, both inside and out, as a child when she was bedridden with scoliosis. Five years ago she created an Art and Anatomy seminar in the Masters Scholars program, as part of an artist residency at NYU SOM. The class, which includes medical students, faculty [...]