Archives for December 2008

Conscience in Medicine

This should prove interesting:

Los Angeles TimesReporting from Washington — The outgoing Bush administration is planning to announce a broad new "right of conscience" rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control.

Some examples of refusal to provide medication or procedures based on the conscientious objection of the provider are given.  No details in the newspaper report, and I have about 20 questions for each presented, which boil down to ‘were there really no other viable alternatives but to insist one person go against their strongly held beliefs’?

I’ll now go out on a limb and say I don’t understand why medical professionals are not allowed to act, or refuse to act, based on their own beliefs, providing it results in no harm to the patient.  (I am not advocating prostylitizing or any other unprofessional behavior). The argument ‘you’re allowed to believe anything you want but must do whatever the patient wants even if it goes directly against your beliefs’ I can buy, but it would have to be under very very rigorous conditions (a true emergency or unavoidable time limitations coupled with a lack of viable alternatives).  We’re people, not automatons, with as much right to our own beliefs, and to have those beliefs respected, as anyone else.

To argue otherwise says you must jettison your own values and do whatever is asked.  Medicine demands a lot; it shouldn’t include your soul. 

Well, so much for the Mac Invincibility Theory

British Broadcasting CorporationIn a note posted on its support site in late November, Apple said it wanted to "encourage" people to use anti-virus to stay safe online.

The move is widely seen as a response to the growing trend among cyber criminals of booby-trapping webpages that can catch out Mac users.

Apple recommended users try McAfee VirusScan, Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11, or Intego VirusBarrier X5.

For me it won’t be Norton; does anyone have experience with the Mac versions of McAfee ($36.55) or Intego ($69.95)?

Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Tonight, from the porch.


I know it’s them (Well, Sky & Telescope knows, and that’s enough for me).

More from Wired:

In what’s called a planetary conjunction, the two planets —the brightest in the night sky — will appear extremely close, separated by only the width of a finger held at arm’s length. They won’t be this close together and well-placed for evening viewing again until May 2013.

Another use for placebos in medicine

(Allegedly) trying to cover up drug crimes.  By a pharmacist (allegedly).

Monday, investigators reported more details of the searches. They said they found expired bottles of oxycodone and OxyContin, set for destruction, that were filled with M&M’s candy. The bottles had been resealed to appear unopened.

I suppose they don’t open the bottles of expired meds?  Then how are they disposed of?

How to get yourself in hot water in Medicine: lie for someone famous

Another of life’s lessons, i.e., learn from the mistakes of others.

Plaxico Burress, apparently another incredibly gifted athlete with a 10 cent head, shot himself the other day.  Understandably he went to get medical help, and that’s where the weirdness for this lesson started:

New York Post* Getting special treatment at New York-Cornell Hospital, where he gave his name as Harris Smith, saying he’d been shot at an Applebee’s restaurant. Nonetheless, hospital workers recognized him as Plaxico Burress, sources said, and the gunshot was not reported, as required by law.

The trio was logged in at 2:45 a.m. by a New York-Cornell security guard, according to records reviewed by the police. The facility is connected with The Hospital for Special Surgery – a popular choice among elite athletes, where Burress was once treated himself. He was out about 10 hours later.

Hospital workers recognized Burress and agreed not to report the incident to police, the sources said.

City and state officials plan to interview hospital administrators about the trauma-unit visit and how notification of police was mishandled.

(emphasis added by me)

I wouldn’t relish being the hospital spokesman in this circumstance, but even I could come up with something better than this laffer:

A hospital spokesman, for the second straight day, denied that Burress was treated there.

"There was nobody listed under that name," the spokesman, Bryan Dotson, said.

According to state law, failing to report a gunshot injury to cops is a class A misdemeanor. But when asked about the hospital’s reporting policies, the spokesman said, "I don’t know what the policy and protocol is on that."

You’d better get briefed on it; this isn’t going to go well for a lot of people there.

Best of luck, NY-Cornell.  I suspect you’re going to need it.