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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

About Craig Klugman


“Exploring ethical issues in TV medical dramas”

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Good Doctor (Season 3; Episode 11): Anesthesia and addiction; the limits of compassion; The Resident (Season 3; Episode 12): Dying (or not) on your own terms; Suing patients for medical debt; Chicago Med (Season 5; Episode 11): Quid pro quo—switched embryos, safe injection sites; surrogate withdrawal of life support

The Good Doctor (Season 3; Episode 11): Anesthesia and addiction; the limits of compassion

Carrie is a patient who arrives with a complicated leg fracture after falling while mountain biking. The patient refuses pain meds, saying that Vicodin makes her sick.…

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“Exploring ethical issues in TV medical dramas”

The Resident (Season 3; Episode 11): Keeping information from patients; Capitalism and medicine do not mix; Chicago Med (Seasons 5, Episode 10): Doctors and the opioid epidemic; different approaches to treating patients

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Resident (Season 3; Episode 11): Keeping information from patients; Capitalism and medicine do not mix

Austin’s patient has an infection of the chest that can be cleaned out with surgery and then scar tissue removed in the hope that she can breathe again. She has, apparently, beaten her cancer. The surgery, however, is risky. Austin and Nevins take a good cop/bad cop approach in giving the patient the risks and benefits.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This week Las Vegas hosted the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where tech companies can show off the devices they hope we will all be buying soon. With an expected market share of $504 million in the next five years, over 200 Digital Health related companies were showing their wares at CES.

The FDA defines digital health as “The broad scope of digital health includes categories such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine”. These devices, apps, and programs are supposed to help us learn more about our health and take steps to improve it.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week, I received an automated phone call from my local grocery chain saying that I had purchased some hardboiled eggs that were part of a recall and I should return the eggs for a full refund.

My initial reaction was that the call was a wonderful public health outreach program. The company that processed and distributed the eggs issued a recall after 7 people were infected with Listeria monocytogenes (4 were hospitalized; 1 died). A CDC investigation (https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/eggs-12-19/index.html) found that all of the infected patients had eaten hardboiled egg products from one processing plant.  Besides a posting on the CDC website, major news outlets covered the recall and most markets pulled hardboiled egg products from their shelves.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Resident (Season 3; Episode 10): Padding stats, gaming the system, losing perspective

During brain surgery, an 89-year-old white male with advanced dementia starts “breaking down”. Cain tells his resident to open the brain. Voss says that the brain is herniating: “Given his physical and mental status before surgery and given his brain herniation, he will have zero quality of life, even if you can call it life…He’ll be a body in a bed, a vegetable. It’s the compassionate choice at this point [to let him go].” Cain Responds, “I’m only going to say this once. Nobody.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week I became a Jewish-American. No, I did not change my citizenship. No, I did not change religions. In the morning I was an American (born a U.S. Citizen) who was raised in conservative Judaism and by the afternoon, I was part of a new nationality. What changed last week was President Trump signing an order stating that Title VI applies to anti-Semitism. According to Title VI, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Thus, for this law to apply, Judaism has to be a race, a color, or a nation.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The start of the winter holidays means winter hiatus for many shows. This week only one show dealt with bioethical issues.

The Resident (Season 3: Episode 9): Maternal-fetal conflict; Politics, Business, and Torture; Problems with outpatient surgery in offices

In one storyline, a pregnant patient has trouble breathing during a standard ultrasound. She is diagnosed with an enlarged heart, cardiomyopathy brought on by her prior chemo. Okafor suggests delivering the baby early to protect her heart. This situation is a classic case of maternal-fetal conflict: What is good for the baby (being carried to term) is not good for the mother’s health (relieving the stress on her heart).…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Good Doctor (Season 3; Episode 8): Dying alone; Chicago Med (Season 5; Episode 9): Bizarre DNRs, Consent is a process

The Good Doctor (Season 3; Episode 8): Dying alone

A world-famous leukemia oncologist lands in the hospital with occlusion to her coronary arteries and a damaged left side of her heart. During surgery, Melendez mentions that the damage is worse than expected and they should update the power of attorney, who is the patient’s ex-husband. Park informs Melendez that the two haven’t spoken in two years and that he was not coming. Park has also tried to track down a sister who says she doesn’t know her sister and can’t serve.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Resident (Season 3; Episode 6): Gambling on patients and dangerous surgeries; New Amsterdam (Season 2; Episode 8): Unrelieved pain; Making promises; Chicago Med (Season 5; Episode 8): Assent/Consent, Medical decision-making by internet vote, not treating family, creating a public health threat

The Resident (Season 3; Episode 6): Gambling on patients and dangerous surgeries

During a high stakes game of poker, Cain wins a chronic spinal patient in a poker game. Cain wants to perform an experimental surgery on the patient to replace four spinal discs with artificial ones. The surgery has never been done in the U.S.…

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