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Medical Ethics

Outrage of the Month: Editors of Prestigious Journal Sacrifice Standards to Defend an Unethical Clinical Trial

Michael Carome, M.D. | Posted 09.29.2015 | Science
Michael Carome, M.D.

Recently, NEJM Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Drazen and his senior editors have shown a disturbing disregard for the journal's traditionally high standards. This became most apparent when, in 2013, they published a series of pieces that provided a misleading and unbalanced assessment of an unethical clinical trial involving more than 1,300 premature babies.

Dr. Carson, Dr.Paul, Meet Dr. Hippocrates

Jonathan D. Moreno | Posted 09.18.2015 | Politics
Jonathan D. Moreno

In the Republican debate last Wednesday, the two doctors on the stage dangerously hedged on vaccinations. Ben Carson and Rand Paul could have just said, "Get your kid vaccinated, it's important," and left it at that. Instead they pandered to the crowd. In doing so they violated their moral commitment.

Not Just About the Psychologists

Brigadier General (Ret) Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D. | Posted 09.08.2015 | Impact
Brigadier General (Ret) Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D.

The practice of torture requires that the torturer depersonalize the victim. But such a degrading and dehumanizing attitude cannot be contained in prisons or the closed environments of the war zones. The psychological and working boundaries are permeable.

Refocusing Cancer Drug Approval on Patients

Eric Kodish, M.D. | Posted 07.28.2015 | Healthy Living
Eric Kodish, M.D.

What the 21st Century Cures Act ignores is the prevailing, patient agnostic approach to drug development. We need to move toward a patient-centric approach to drug development and approval, and we should start with cancer treatments.

Physician-Assisted Dying: Honest Choices

Steve Heilig | Posted 07.07.2015 | Politics
Steve Heilig

Physician-assisted dying is a complex and emotional issue. Here is a new perspective done with a leading physician with much direct experience - and who has quit one of his professional medical associations due to their lack of integrity on the topic.

Morality, Religion and Experimenting on You

Robert Klitzman, M.D. | Posted 06.04.2015 | Religion
Robert Klitzman, M.D.

To improve the process of ethical oversight of research, we need to change our attitudes, and recognize far more fully that complicated moral issues, strains and vagaries are involved.

Take Care: There's More to Medical Ethics Than Absence of Harm

Eric Kodish, M.D. | Posted 05.29.2015 | Healthy Living
Eric Kodish, M.D.

Ultimately it comes down to a doctor or other practitioner standing with a patient, making decisions that are very personal. In that moment, as conflicted and complex as the issues are, doctors can help by asking themselves a personal question: What do I need to do to take care of this person before me?

Requiem for Lethal Injection?

M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D. | Posted 05.28.2015 | Politics
M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D.

The rifleman mustering for a firing squad is honest - an icon of retribution without pretense. If we can own his violent act on our behalf, capital punishment suits us. But clinical killing is euphemism - a cowardly way for us to deceive ourselves.

Are We in the Emerald City, Dr. Oz?

Janine Francolini | Posted 06.23.2015 | Media
Janine Francolini

We look forward to his on-air response, and hope that Dr. Oz will be transparent and honest about his methods, intentions and future behavior.

Is Psychiatry Getting Kinky?

M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D. | Posted 06.20.2015 | Healthy Living
M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D.

So slip into those tight leather jeans. That dog collar would look fetching. Add a piercing in a place your mother wouldn't imagine. Or take your l...

In Oz We Trust?

Janine Francolini | Posted 06.19.2015 | Media
Janine Francolini

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. It requires a new physician to swear, upon a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards.

Medical Misogyny: Kansas Mandates Substandard Abortion Care

David A. Grimes | Posted 06.14.2015 | Politics
David A. Grimes

SB 95 is an unwarranted and dangerous intrusion into the patient-physician relationship. The bill provides no medical or public health justification for outlawing the safest method of second-trimester abortion in the world today. Thus, one must conclude that the intent is to punish women by relegating them to obsolete care.

Medical Treatment by Brute Force

M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D. | Posted 01.31.2015 | Politics
M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D.

Force-feeding started at Guantanamo in response to fear that self-starving captives would stir anti-American ire. It would be ironic were this response itself to rouse worldwide outrage, making allies less likely to collaborate with us and stiffening our enemies' resolve.

The Snake Oil in Spine Surgery: One Spine Surgeon's Perspective

Michael A. Gleiber, M.D. | Posted 11.11.2014 | Healthy Living
Michael A. Gleiber, M.D.

Many folks responded to a paid advertisement promising "Great results" and "Little to no down time," and take the bait. They bought the snake oil.

Health Insurance and Hobby Lobby: How Can We Restructure the System to Allow for Personal Decisions?

Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. | Posted 09.06.2014 | Religion
Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.

The Hobby Lobby case reminds us that when it comes to health insurance coverage, it's not simply about science.

Death With Dignity: Now Is the Time for Advanced Care Discussions

Eric Kodish, M.D. | Posted 05.25.2014 | Healthy Living
Eric Kodish, M.D.

End-of-life care, and the subsequent decisions that are related to it, is a sensitive subject that must be handled with compassion and respect from all involved -- from family members to medical personnel.

Why Getting Old or Sick in America Doesn't Pay (And What You Can Do to Avoid It)

Amandah Blackwell | Posted 04.09.2014 | Healthy Living
Amandah Blackwell

My mom has been through the ringer with doctors, Medicare, secondary insurance, and medical professionals. It's as if the left hand has no clue as to what the right hand is doing. To me, health care shouldn't be this complicated.

What Does Death Have to Do With It?

Dr. Norma Bowe | Posted 03.19.2014 | Politics
Dr. Norma Bowe

I am a professor of death. I have helped hundreds of students learn about dying, and still can't think of anything harder than losing someone you love...

Who Are the Animals in Animal Experiments?

Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H. | Posted 03.14.2014 | Science
Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H.

I have tried to draw attention to the general ineffectiveness of animal experiments and how they impede our chances of finding cures. I have focused on the human side of the equation. But just who are these animals abused in experimentation?

Diagnostic Ethics: Harms vs Benefits of Somatic Symptom Disorder

Allen Frances | Posted 02.15.2014 | Science
Allen Frances

The arena now shifts to the International Classification of Diseases 11 which is currently being prepared by the World Health Organization and is due to be published in 2016. The open question is whether ICD 11 will mindlessly repeat the mistakes of DSM-5 or will it correct them?

The Future of Testing Your Genetic Future

Robert Klitzman, M.D. | Posted 02.10.2014 | Healthy Living
Robert Klitzman, M.D.

This week, 23andMe, the Google-backed DTC genetic test company, stunned many observers by agreeing to stop sales of its $99 genetic test kit online, saying it will now release only ancestry information and raw data without interpretation.

Genetic Testing Should Adhere to Medical, Not Business, Ethics: FDA's Regulation of 23andMe Is a Welcome Move for Consumers

Karuna Jaggar | Posted 05.22.2015 | Business
Karuna Jaggar

Public health and patient protection should come before company profit. And this week the FDA has taken a welcome stand to protect public health by insisting that what is clearly a medical service be regulated as such.

Reflecting on Rescuing Stranded Starfish and Abolishing Medical Debt

Jerry Ashton | Posted 01.23.2014 | New York
Jerry Ashton

What was it like to open up a letter announcing that the burden of a large medical debt had been taken away? "I was dumbfounded," replies Terrance Lavalle, referring to a letter he received in November from Occupy Wall Street's working group, "The Rolling Jubilee."

Torture: Military Violations of Medical Ethics and Undeniable Evidence -- Again

Steve Heilig | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Steve Heilig

All military physicians are licensed by somebody and should be investigated if there were any suspicions of participation in torture, however defined.

The Lobotomists Are Back!

Dr. Peter Breggin | Posted 11.11.2013 | Healthy Living
Dr. Peter Breggin

Researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada have published a new study of current psychosurgery at their facility, but the project suffers...