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Dr. Val’s Take On The Medical Ethics Debate: America’s A Funny Place

god-bless-americaDr. Rich recently posted a 3-part series on the shortcomings of medicine’s new ethics. While I personally find Dr. Rich’s writing style both nuanced and entertaining, there is no doubt that his posts require some focused attention. And so I thought I’d provide a “Cliff’s Notes” version for my regular readers (since Google analytics tells me they are unlikely to spend more than 2 minutes here at a time). 😉

Advances in science and technology have provided us with valuable new treatment options for many diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, these new drugs, devices, and procedures are so expensive that we cannot (as a country) afford to make them accessible to everyone who could benefit from them. Medical technology has outpaced our ability to pay for it. This leaves us with an ethical dilemma: how do we ration access to modern medicine? Read more »

Medical Ethics Smack Down Part 3: The ACP Responds

A few days ago Mr. Doherty (who is also the ACP’s Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Public Policy), graciously agreed to engage in this discussion, and promised to do so after consulting with the ACP’s Committee on Ethics, Professionalism, and Human Rights.

DrRich had hoped that Mr. Doherty would reply with a post on his ACP blog, which (since it likely has a vastly greater readership than the CRB), would more effectively give this topic some much-needed airing – and in particular, might engage some of the ACP’s membership (specialists in internal medicine) in this important discussion. DrRich was disappointed, then, when the reply came today in the form of a comment, which was tacked on to a long queue of reader’s comments at the end of DrRich’s posting.

DrRich was also very disappointed by the content of the reply which, fundamentally, was: This is a non-issue, and even if it was an issue, it’s now a settled issue. (So go away.) Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*

Medical Ethics, ACP Smack Down Part 2: Medical Ethics the Right Way

In his last post, and not without some little trepidation over the propriety of doing so, DrRich offered to enter into a “constructive dialogue” with Bob Doherty of the ACP Advocate Blog, regarding the important topic of medical ethics. What occasioned this offer was the fortuitous selection of each of us as finalists in the 2009 Medical Weblog Award Competition, in the category of Best Health Policy/Ethics Blog.

Ever since the inception of the Covert Rationing Blog (and even before that, in his book) DrRich has taken strong exception to the new code of “medical ethics for a new millennium,” formally promulgated in 2002 by the American College of Physicians and several of its equally respected sister organizations (a grouping DrRich has termed the Millennialists). And when he saw that the ACP Advocate Blog (an official publication of a principle component of the Millennialists) had become a co-finalist for a Weblog Award in the category of medical ethics, DrRich could not resist offering to engage in a discussion over same. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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