Ethics in the News

Several recent news items worth mentioning:
Eletronic Physicians Orders for End-of-Life Treatment
States are creating electronic databases that will store physicians’ orders regarding the type of care patients want at the end of their lives. The goal is to make such orders more readily available to emergency workers, as paper based orders (including advance directives) are frequently misplaced. Such orders are called POLST, or physician orders for life-sustaining treatment. Also, such orders will be honored by other physicians in other health care institutions and therefore, no need to interpret wishes in an advance directives, which can differ between different physicians. Read this article here>

Alzheimer’s Tests: Who Controls the Information?  Doctors or Patients? Recent tests (such as MRI and spinal taps and APOE tests) that can predict with some accuracy the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s are becoming more widespread and raises the question of whether doctors should order such tests and tell patients the results, the concern being that there is no treatment yet for Alzheimer’s. But many patients are saying they want to know. Are physicians being too paternalistic?
Read the article here

Proper Rationing of Transplants??  Recently Arizona decided not to cover the costs of transplants under its Medicaid program, the reason being that the data shows that most people die even with the transplants. But are the data accurate? Read the article here.

Spinal Fusin Surgery and Medicaid Fraud?   Recent data from the Medicaid database show that several medical centers have performed an extraordinary amount of spinal fusion surgeries and the concern is that their surgeons are receiving large payments from the device companies that manufacture the hardware used in such surgeries. Do such surgeons have a conflict of interest? Read the article here.

Enjoy the readings and enjoy the holidays!!

Henry Silverman

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