Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (1520)

January 28, 2015

Texas Advance Directives Act - 2015 Legislative Session

The 2015 legislative session (the 84th) in Texas has just begun and some are getting ready to again tackle the Advance Directives Act.

TADA was last amended in 2003.  Multiple bills were advanced in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.  But none were enacted.  Get ready for round five.    


In the January 2015 issue of TEXAS MEDICINE:  "In anticipation of another round of debates over end-of-life care, TMA's workgroup dedicated to the issue will work to protect physicians' ability to do what's best for patients in their final days."


Defending TADA is part of the Texas Medical Association's strategic roadmap for state advocacy initiatives, Healthy Vision 2020 (2d ed.).


"Legislation has been introduced over the past four legislative sessions that would instead require indefinite treatment with no provision for the physician exercising ethics or moral judgment. TMA has opposed these proposals because they would prolong unnecessary — and often painful or even torturous — care that cannot prevent but can only prolong death. They would also require physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to provide medically inappropriate care, even if that care violates medical ethics or the standard of care. They also would set a dangerous precedent for the legislature to mandate the provision of physician services and treatments that may be medically inappropriate, outside the standard of care, or unethical."


January 27, 2015

Have a Miscarriage and Go to Jail? Potential Consequences of Personhood Amendments

Bertha Alvarez Manninen
January 27, 2015

The Hepatitis C Epidemic in One Picture

Hepatitis C has been in the news lately, because of amazing (and amazingly expensive) new treatments that promise to cure their life-threatening illness. While we ought to debate the expense of these treatments, we should also remind ourselves of how … Continue reading
January 27, 2015

Medical Benefit Is ALWAYS Patient Determined

The value or benefit of any medical intervention can be assessed on two dimensions.  First, the intervention can be assessed physiologically (e.g. does it restore function to an organ).  Second, the intervention can be assessed subjectively f...
January 27, 2015

Paying for Journal Peer Review

<p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Academic journal publishing is big business. More journals are popping up in almost every field especially with the open access movement dominating academic publishing. While editors of some high impact journals might reject papers outright, editors of most journals, especially open access journals, might be willing to send the paper out for peer review so long as it isn’t methodologically flawed (Arns, 2014). Some predatory <a href="http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/">open access journals</a></span><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"> likely provide far less scrutiny and may send seriously flawed or poorly written papers to reviewers – I can personally vouch for this happening for one open access journal in my field. With the rise of journals and the increased pressure for scientists to publish, the demand and strain on peer reviewers and the peer review system is growing.</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">There are certainly signs that peer review is placing demands on researchers. For example, my previous supervisor who is an expert in bioethics and health law once told me he receives a request to peer review an article every couple of days. Another researcher at Mt. Sinai Hospital at the University of Toronto in Canada mentioned that he receives 300 requests to review papers a year, each of which takes him 3-4 hours to complete (Diamandis, 2015). Many of my colleagues who are prolific researchers turn down peer reviews, trying to do only a few a year or pass it off to junior researchers. In a recent column of the journal </span><em style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">Nature</em><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;">, Martijn Arns explains that the increased pressure to review and the reluctance of researchers to undertake peer review might mean that editors will assign papers to reviewers who might not have the appropriate expertise in a particular area. Peer reviewers who are not experts on the topic should not accept articles to review, or declare to editors what areas they can appropriately review. Certainly junior researchers or doctoral students may not be international experts on a topic, but junior researchers might do a better job of reviewing manuscripts by investing more time and giving fair consideration to an article. However, given the time involved and the sense of obligation to conduct peer review, some reviewers might cut corners and perform mediocre reviews.</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><span style="font-size: 11.1999998092651px; line-height: 19.0400009155273px;"><strong style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000099;" href="/Academic/bioethics/index.cfm">website</a>.</strong><span style="line-height: 19.0400009155273px; color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"> </span></span></p>
January 26, 2015

Great Writing through Analogy

Every once in a while on my blog, I like to highlight great writing. In part, I guess, because my own writing has yet to rise to such a level. Anyways, here’s Robert Ballard in the Smithsonian trying to help … Continue reading
January 26, 2015

New Mexico Court of Appeals to Hear Aid in Dying Case

In January 2014, a New Mexico trial court  ruled that patients have a fundamental right to aid in dying under the state constitution.

This afternoon, the New Mexico Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the case, captioned as


KATHERINE MORRIS, M.D., AROOP MANGALIK, M.D., and AJA RIGGS, Plaintiffs-Appellees
vs.
KARI BRANDENBURG, in her official capacity as District Attorney for Bernalillo County, New Mexico, and GARY KING, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of New Mexico, Defendants-Appellants

A number of amici are also involved:
  • Attorneys for Disability Rights
  • ALS Association NM Chapter
  • NM Psychological Association
  • American Medical Women’s Association
  • American Medical Students Association
  • NM Public Health Association

January 24, 2015

5th International Conference on Advance Care Planning and End-of-Life Care (ACPEL)

The 5th International Conference on Advance Care Planning and End-of-Life Care (ACPEL) will be held from 9 to 12 September 2015 in Munich, Germany.  The Call for Abstracts is open until 15 Feb 2015. Already booked sessions include: Does the plan...
January 23, 2015

Patient Modesty: Volume 71

I would like to start out this Volume 71 with a basic question to help define what is understood as physical modesty and how it applies to this issue as experienced by patients within the medical system. Is modesty of an individual only related to how ...
January 23, 2015

The Power of Free

The Atlantic recently reproduced a figure showing just how much people like things when they are free. Specifically, they looked at health interventions and show that people are more likely to take up these interventions, or products, when they don’t … Continue reading