Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (1885)

May 22, 2015

The Question Isn’t Whether We Are Overdiagnosing Cancer, But How Much

Medical experts now agree that as a result of aggressive screening programs, we have an epidemic of cancer overdiagnosis in the United States. With mammograms finding tiny cancers and PSA tests discovering unpalpable prostate cancers, we are now unearthing some … Continue reading

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May 22, 2015

Dying without Dignity - Investigations by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into Complaints about End of Life Care

The UK Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has just published an alarming report on the end of life care, “Dying Without Dignity.”  It is a painful and sad read.

The report identifies six key themes, all illustrated with case studies
  1. Not recognising that people are dying, and not responding to their needs – if the needs of those who are close to death are not recognised, their care cannot be planned or co‐ordinated, which means more crises and distress for the person and their family and carers.
  2. Poor symptom control – people have watched their loved ones dying in pain or in an agitated state because their symptoms have been ineffectively or poorly managed.
  3. Poor communication – poor communication is an important element in our complaints on end of life care. It is clear that healthcare professionals do not always have the open and honest conversations with family members and carers that are necessary for them to understand the severity of the situation, and the subsequent choices they will have to make.
  4. Inadequate out‐of‐hours services – people who are dying and their carers suffer because of the difficulties in getting palliative care outside normal working hours.
  5. Poor care planning – a failure to plan adequately often leads to the lack of co‐ordinated care, for example, GPs and hospitals can fail to liaise.
  6. Delays in diagnosis and referrals for treatment – this can mean that people are denied the chance to plan for the end of their life and for their final wishes to be met.

May 22, 2015

Marcel Proust on His Deathbed [EOL in Art 12]

In 1922, the photographer Man Ray made a final portrait of Marcel Proust two days after his death.  I love the fact that Proust spent the last night of his life dictating manuscript changes for a section of his famous novel&nbs...
May 21, 2015

Conscience and Proper Medical Treatment

Conscience and Proper Medical Treatment is the topic of several articles in the latest issue of Medical Law Review.
May 21, 2015

Don’t Be Afraid to Team Up with Your Doctor about Healthcare Costs

Here is a fine story in the Los Angeles Times written by Lisa Zamosky about the importance of talking with your doctor about your out of pocket medical costs. Despite high medical costs topping Americans’ list of financial concerns, many … Continue reading

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May 21, 2015

Terminally Ill Patients Visit the Museum [EOL in Art 11]

I have posted 10 paintings that portray death.  Today's "end of life in art" post is a little different.  The art itself (Rembrandt's Self-Portrait with Two Circles) is not about death.  But this image is still relevant and compelling. &...
May 21, 2015

Aid in Dying: An Important Possibility at the End of Life

End of Life Choices New York and the New York Society for Ethical Culture invite you to the inaugural Barbara Swartz End of Life Choices Lecture: "Aid in Dying: An Important Possibility at the End of Life." The speaker will be the ren...
May 20, 2015

These Americans Are Rich – Should We Celebrate?

American manufacturing has declined precipitously in the past few decades. Companies that were once the source of fabulous wealth for Americans – the U.S. Steel profits that enriched the Carnegie family, the Ford Motor F -1.29% Company profits that enriched … Continue reading

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May 20, 2015

Grief and Mourning at Death [EOL in Art 10]

Munch painted "Death in the Sickroom" in 1893.  Like many other paintings, it deals with the tuberculosis and death of his sister when he was 14.   Munch directs our focus not to the dying person but to the inner thoughts and grief of the fa...
May 20, 2015

Physicians Should Not Act Like Judges (video)

I love this scene (among others) from "Whose Life Is It Anyway?"   Sculptor Richard Dreyfus is paralyzed after a car accident.  He decides he wants to die.  But as the film's title suggests, his physician has other ideas.