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Author Archive: Neil Skjoldal

About Neil Skjoldal

When I blogged last month, I thought surely that May would be an improvement over April. I was wrong. Now, with 100k deaths from COVID-19, and after several days of protests across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, I can’t possibly imagine what the summer will be like. I watched two …

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April 2020 is over and not a moment too soon.  As we enter May, it is reported that over 60,000 people in America have died of COVID-19.  There is a measure of relief that some of the most dire predictions of ICU hospitalizations and deaths have not materialized. As many have suggested, a good dose …

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03/02/2020 The Price We Pay
Every week, I visit my local grocery store.  Thanks to the miracle of texting, I have a pretty good idea what of my family needs for the coming week.  Each week, our supermarket offers BOGOs (“buy one, get one”) for different products.  With this in mind, I will consciously switch brands to get a “two for one” deal.  When …

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At a bioethics conference two years ago, I heard the Surgeon General of the state of Florida say that one’s zip code was a more accurate determinant of one’s health than one’s DNA.  It took a while for that statement to sink in, but when it finally did, it was nothing short of shocking. Her comment …

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In recent days, the Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA), signed into law in 1999 by then-Governor George W. Bush, has come under scrutiny because of the tragic case of Tinslee Lewis. From press accounts  we learn that Tinslee is now 11 months old and suffers from several conditions which have led doctors at Cook Children’s Medical …

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12/02/2019 Project Nightingale
Technology always seems to outrun ethics.  But just because something can be done does not mean that it should be done.  Usually this discussion is focused on the latest life-sustaining medical device, but with emergence of electronic medical records, a whole new set of problems have appeared Last month, Rob Copeland of The Wall Street Journal (behind pay wall) published a …

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Can algorithms show racial bias?   That is the conclusion of a recent article published in Science by Obermeyer, et al., entitled, “Dissecting racial bias in an algorithm used to manage the health of populations.”   According to Science, the algorithm’s goal is “to predict complex health needs for the purpose of targeting an intervention that manages those …

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Today’s Miami Herald [limited access] is reporting that there are on-going scams targeting the elderly by doing unnecessary DNA tests on them, with the intent of committing Medicare fraud. The article states, “Genetic testing . . . has become so corrupted by racketeers that the Justice Department recently unveiled its first nationwide take-down of 35 suspects …

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09/02/2019 A meaningful life
The MIT Technology Review recently published an interview with Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s department of medical ethics and health policy, entitled “A doctor and medical ethicist argues life after 75 is not worth living.”  It appears to be a follow-up to a provocative article that Emanuel wrote in The Atlantic five years ago, “Why I …

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In November 2018, journalist Julie Brown of the Miami Herald published an important three-part report called “Perversion of Justice,” describing the case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.  Brown’s reporting strongly indicates that Epstein’s punishment appeared relatively small when compared to the crimes that were actually committed.  The report, in part, led to further examination of the case and a …

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