Hot Topics: Health Care

Blog Posts (3347)

August 16, 2016

Patient Rights to Demand Non-Beneficial Treatment in Ontario

University of New Brunswick law professor Hilary Young has a vivid description of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Cuthbertson v. Rasouli.  

"The Court took a novel approach, requiring physicians sometimes to provide life-sustaining treatment contrary to their conscientious professional discretion."

"What is important to understand is that patients or their SDMs can effectively demand treatment – even harmful treatment – by refusing consent to the treatment being withheld. That is, by requiring consent for withholding or withdrawing treatment, the Court created a de facto entitlement to treatment."

"What’s more, the Court found this to be the case even where the treatment in question is: harmful, contrary to physicians’ conscientious professional discretion, or contrary to the standard of care."

August 15, 2016

How to Die in Oregon - Free Screening in Eagan, MN

On Saturday, August 20, Compassion & Choices will host a free screening of the Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary, How to Die in Oregon

This important film follows one patient’s experience with the Oregon Death-with-Dignity law and is more relevant than ever to the residents of Minnesota

Not only will you have a chance to view this gripping documentary that explores the practice of aid in dying in Oregon, but you will be able to participate in a conversation immediately following the film with Compassion & Choices Minnesota President Janet Conn.

Free Screening
Saturday, August 20 1:00 p.m.
Eagan Community Center
1501 Central Parkway

August 15, 2016

Why We Need a Male Pill: Enhancing Men’s Reproductive Autonomy and Unburdening Women’s Contraceptive Responsibility

One of the key tenets of reproductive autonomy is being able to control if, when, and with whom one reproduces. Men’s reproductive autonomy is inhibited by the lack of good contraceptive options available to them. Whereas women have 11 types of contraceptives—including barrier, hormonal, permanent, and long-acting reversible—men only have two types—the male condom, a barrier method, and vasectomy, a permanent method. It is not just the number of methods that is problematic; it is also the lack of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Many men want to maintain their future fertility, thus ruling out vasectomy, but do not want to rely on condoms, especially if they are in a long-term monogamous relationship. While part of the reason some men do not like condoms is because they can decrease sexual sensation, another reason is that the failure rate for actual use is so high: 17%. Female LARCs, in contrast, have much lower failure rates for actual use, which enhances their reproductive autonomy because they are equipped with effective methods to enact their reproductive desires (i.e. avoiding pregnancy).

The lack of male LARCS causes some men to rely upon their female partner to contraceptive since she has more and better contraceptive options. Yet this dependence on his partner may also comprise his reproductive autonomy because he has to trust that she is consistently and correctly using female methods. If she does become pregnant, he has no recourse and, in many settings, is legally responsible for any offspring, including financial and even social obligations to the child.

Placing the majority of contraceptive responsibility on women due to the lack of male methods is not just bad for men; it is also bad for women. Women have to shoulder the health-related side effects of contraception, which tend to have more serious side effects than male methods because they include hormonal methods. Not surprisingly then, the most common reason for nonuse of modern contraceptives among women with an unmet need is health concerns and side effects. Additionally, side effects are the most cited reason why women discontinue contraceptives and most forms of contraception have discontinuation rates near 50% after one year of use. The fact that women continue to use a particular method does not mean she is happy with it; she (and her partner) may simply see it as their best option among poor choices.

In addition to the health related side effects of contraception, there are also the financial burdens of contraception. In the US, although the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance companies to cover female contraceptives, not all women are aware of this and very few women realize that certain forms of contraceptive, such as IUDs and tubal ligation, are covered. Even if the cost of contraception is covered, women still have to invest the time to acquire contraception: all methods except the female condom and the sponge require at least one health care provider visit and hormonal methods require an ongoing prescription. In the global South, women may face difficulty affording contraception, especially if their government does not prioritize reproductive health services.

August 15, 2016

If You Don’t Have Employer Insurance, You Probably Have a High Deductible

Most people in the United States get health insurance either through their employer or through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. But some people have to find other ways to get healthcare insurance, with an increasing number of people doing … Continue reading

The post If You Don’t Have Employer Insurance, You Probably Have a High Deductible appeared first on

August 15, 2016

Three Lawyers on Every Ethics Committee

There is a long-running debate about whether and how lawyers should serve on hospital ethics committees.  

Therefore, I was surprised to read George Annas and Michael Grodin recall that "at IECs’ birth, a committee of the American Hospital Association recommended that IECs all have at least three lawyers as members: one to represent the hospital, one to represent the IEC itself, and an independent lawyer to give the committee neutral advice "

August 15, 2016

Christians and Physician Assisted Suicide

In my experience working with terminally ill patients over the past seven years, I have often seen people of the Christian faith go all out in the ICU, wanting “everything done” for a terminally ill loved one. In these circumstances, when I speak with family members of the patient, they tell me they will continue to pray for a miracle to happen. As a person... // Read More »
August 14, 2016

Judge Overrules Another Demurrer in Jahi McMath Brain Death Case

Judge Pulido (Alameda County) The trial judge in Jahi McMath's state malpractice has overruled another defendant's demurrer to McMath's first amended complaint. This is not a surprise, since the court had already denied other defendants' demur...
August 14, 2016

Annals Graphic Medicine ­ "I'd Want a Natural Death"

August 13, 2016

2nd International Conference on End-of-Life Law, Ethics, Policy and Practice

The 2nd International Conference on End-of-Life Law, Ethics, Policy and Practice will be held Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 13-15, 2017.
August 13, 2016

A novel strategy for suicide prevention

In the Netherlands, a doctor will not be prosecuted for assisting a patient to die either through euthanasia or assisted suicide (EAS) if certain conditions are met, among which are the following: The patient’s request for aid-in-dying must be voluntary and well-informed, without coercion from others, and uninfluenced by psychological illness or drugs; their suffering should be unbearable and hopeless, with no prospect for improvement... // Read More »