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Author Archive: Neil Skjoldal

About Neil Skjoldal

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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07/01/2019 Fertility Fraud
By Neil Skjoldal Last week, Canadian fertility specialist Dr. Norman Barwin lost his medical license after complaints that he had used his own sperm to artificially inseminate his patients without permission. Bionews.org reports that there were understandably strong reactions from the families affected by his horrific actions.  And now it has come to light that …

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05/06/2019 Parental Rights
By Neil Skjoldal What rights do parents have when it comes to the medical care of their children? This bioethical question has recently arisen in the case of Noah McAdams, a 3-year-old who has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  According to news reports, the recommended treatment in his case is chemotherapy.  His parents decided …

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04/01/2019 Bad News
By Neil Skjoldal Many of us have witnessed the giving of bad news to a patient.  It is never a pleasant experience.  Unfortunately, some medical professionals are simply not skilled enough to share bad news in a way that is both compassionate and comprehensible.  And even if they are, it is still bad news after …

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By Neil Skjoldal In a provocative article entitled, “China Uses DNA to Track its People, With the Help of American Expertise,” The New York Times tells the story of how the Chinese government is using DNA information in part to make the Uyghurs, “a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, more subservient to the Communist Party.” To accomplish this …

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02/04/2019 Gender & Pain
By Neil Skjoldal Last week, The Washington Post  published a summary of a recent article in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology entitled “Gender Bias in Pediatric Pain Assessment.” The participants of the study were shown a video with a child described as a girl or boy enduring pain.  The authors  “then asked adults to rate how much pain …

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