Ethics

Tales of Survival: Do No Harm

January 12, 2018
Tales of Survival: Do No Harm

By Derek Moriyama, MD

He stared blankly at the ceiling. “Mr. K can you close your eyes?” my attending asked, speaking slowly and clearly, making sure that the patient could hear every word.

There was no response; his gaze remained unrelentingly fixed on the square panels above him, as if they were shooting stars through the night sky.
Trying once more, the senior doctor continued, “Can you squeeze my hand?”

Again, no response.

It was about one month into his hospital stay, half of that …

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When Doctors Get Personal

August 18, 2017
When Doctors Get Personal

By Leland Soiefer

Peer Reviewed

Mrs. S sat up straight and made excellent eye contact. Her tone was pleasant. She wore a colorful yellow shirt and dark green pants, and was accompanied by her husband; her gilded rings and earrings added flair to her outfit. Her neutral expression, however, stood out to me. She had seen a doctor several weeks ago regarding her first vaginal bleeding since menopause, and a uterine biopsy showing a precancerous lesion was subsequently performed. Surely by this point she had …

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Balancing patient information with our professional and relational duties to patients and families without appealing to paternalism.

December 2, 2016
Balancing patient information with our professional and relational duties to patients and families without appealing to paternalism.

A commentary by Antonella Surbone, MD PhD FACP, Ethics Editor on  yesterday’s article “Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Information?”

The insighftul and challenging piece Is there such a thing as too much information? by Mariya Rozenblit addresses a key issue in today’s medicine: how much information do we need to provide to our patients to enable them to make autonomous informed choices about their health, illnesses and treatments. She provides many data and examples from the literature to illustrate the potential damages …

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Ethical Considerations in the Use of Cordons Sanitaires

February 19, 2015
Ethical Considerations in the Use of Cordons Sanitaires

By Rachel Kaplan Hoffmann, M.D., M.S.Ed., and Keith Hoffmann, J.D.

Peer Reviewed

On December 6, 2013, a two-year-old boy living in southeastern Guinea became the first victim of the latest epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Since the death of Patient Zero, EVD has spread throughout West Africa, becoming the largest outbreak of the deadly virus ever . In its most recent report (2/18/15), the World Health Organization (WHO) reported over 20,000 cases of EVD, with over 9,000 reported deaths , but the actual number …

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Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Impact on Patients and Preventive Medicine

April 25, 2014
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Impact on Patients and Preventive Medicine

By Neelesh Rastogi

Peer Reviewed

In reference to the $100,000 he spent to research the genetic basis of the pancreatic cancer that ultimately killed him, Steve Jobs famously said, “I’m either going to be the first to be able to outrun a cancer like this, or I’m going to be one of the last to die from it” . Mr. Jobs was interested in finding the specific genetic mutations his tumor contained so as to allow doctors to optimize his drug therapy. Now other genetic …

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Should Physicians Ask Patients about Guns?

April 11, 2014
Should Physicians Ask Patients about Guns?

By Jennifer Zhu

Peer Reviewed

After the elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT in December 2012 that left 20 children and 6 adults dead, the country reacted as it had following the July 2012 movie theatre shooting in Aurora, CO, and the public meeting shooting involving Representative Gabrielle Giffords on January 11, 2011 in Tucson, AZ. Some called for tighter firearm safety laws, while others stood by the adage that “Guns don’t kill people,” and that this was no time to politicize a tragedy. The …

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School Fees Or Head CTs: Reflections For Ethical Clinical Practice

February 28, 2014
School Fees Or Head CTs: Reflections For Ethical Clinical Practice

By Steffen Haider, MD

Peer Reviewed

She was a thin, 4-year old girl brought to the Accident Centre by her mother for evaluation of new-onset bruising around the eyes after being an unseatbelted passenger in a motor vehicle crash three days earlier. She denied vomiting or having a headache, and her mother said that she had not been sleeping excessively or acting unusual. She was alert, ambulatory, and quiet but not in distress, without other injuries aside from bilateral periorbital ecchymoses not apparent at initial …

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Why Aren’t Patients Using Advance Directives?

October 23, 2013
Why Aren’t Patients Using Advance Directives?

By Abigail Maller, MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Advance directives are a means for patients to communicate their wishes regarding medical decisions to their families and health care professionals once they are unable to make these decisions themselves. These documents, together with the assignment of health care proxies, help avoid a discrepancy between what a patient wanted in terms of end-of-life care and the level of care that they end up receiving . These resources also prevent confusion and promote mutual understanding between providers and family …

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