Tag Archives: bioethics

Should Patients Be Able to Receive "PFO Occluders" Outside of Research Trials?

Ten years ago, my tennis partner suffered a stroke.  He was a sixty-year-old at the time, working to move up into the top ten players in his age group.  In the country!  You could not have found a healthier sixty-year-old.  … Continue reading

Posted in Health Policy | Tagged , , ,

What Made Our Greatest Surgeon General So Great

I have been thinking a lot about C Everett Koop lately, ever since his death on February 25 at the ripe old age of 96 and more recently with the announcement that our current Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, is planning … Continue reading

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Is Behavioral Economics the Death of Living Wills?

As a physician who conducts research on decision-making, I have been asked many times: What does behavioral economics teach us about the role of living wills in medical care? Famed behavioral economist Dick Thaler recently opined on this topic in the … Continue reading

Posted in Medical Decision Making | Tagged ,

The Predictable Irrationality of Righteous Minds, and the Work of Ethicists

Jennifer spends lots of time with dead things, dead humans actually. She works in a pathology lab. One night, she is asked to incinerate a fresh human cadaver, and she is struck that it would be a waste to throw away perfectly good … Continue reading

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What's Wrong with Gay Boy Scout Leaders?

According to the New York Times, the Boy Scouts of America on Friday proposed ending its ban on openly gay scouts but continue to bar gay adults from serving as leaders. This policy is wrongheaded, regardless of whether you think homosexuality … Continue reading

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Should Your Doctor Pray With You?

“I can fix this.” The neurosurgeon was nothing if not confident. “The cyst is pushing on your spinal cord. If it continues to expand, it will damage your nerves and you may lose the ability to walk. But I can … Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Medical Decision Making | Tagged , ,

Should Doctors Give Medical Advice to Strangers over Email?

Recently I received an email from someone I have never met, who asked me the following: “Could you refer me to any current study results on Arimidex (Anastrozole)? My oncologist is not helpful. My oncotype dx said I have 9% … Continue reading

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Are Doctors Afraid to Talk Math with Their Patients?

Before patients can become savvy consumers of healthcare, they need information about their healthcare choices.  Too often, such information is nearly impossible to get, especially when it requires doctors to give patients useful statistics about things like treatment side effects. … Continue reading

Posted in Medical Decision Making | Tagged ,

What the World Got Wrong About Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius

Lance Armstrong cheated and bullied. These are not shocking revelations. Oscar Pistorius had a history of altercations with his girlfriend and is now accused of murder. More shocking, by far, but hardly the first athlete to be accused of such … Continue reading

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Informed Consent 1950s Style

In her deservedly best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot reproduces the language of Lacks’s informed consent document when she was about to undergoing her cancer surgery at Johns Hopkins in 1951:    I hereby give consent to the … Continue reading

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