Monday, September 15, 2014

Law and Bioethics Career Panel


Bad Medical Language: "Failure to Die" & "GOMER"

Brian Goldman recently published The Secret Language of Doctors.  In 330 pages, Goldman exposes the clandestine phrases that doctors use to describe patients, situations and even colleagues they detest. This book reveals modern medical culture at its best and all too often at its worst.

Specifically, chapter five is titled "Failure to Die."  This tragic term and the related term "GOMER" is discussed in a brief promotional video that Goldman produced.  



In re A.P. - Maybe Moot before Maine Supreme Court Can Decide DHHS Right to Direct DNR over Mother Trask's Objections

Last weekend, I quickly summarized a futility case now pending before the Supreme Court of Maine:  In re A.P. [Aleah Peaslee], KEN-14-192.

This is not a traditional futility conflict, because it is not between the patient's surrogate and the patient's healthcare providers.  Instead, the dispute is between a baby's mother (Virginia Trask) and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services who has taken (temporary) custody of the child.

Because of baby Aleah's severe injuries, DHHS pursued a do not resuscitate order contrary to the mother's wishes.  On April 24 Augusta District Court agreed with DHHS. Trask appealed.  The Maine Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on September 23.

But now both the DHHS Commissioner and the Governor of Maine agree with Trask that DHHS cannot consent to a DNR order unless Trask's parental rights have first been terminated.

That agreement would seem to eliminate the controversy and moot the case.  Indeed, the state has moved to dismiss the appeal.  But hopefully the court will proceed to rule in the case to provide guidance should the next governor have a different policy.

Disability Groups & Aid in Dying

Not surprisingly, a number of disability groups have expressed concern to the Disability Rights Legal Center about its recent hiring of Kathryn Tucker.  

For example:  "We wish to engage in dialogue with you about the serious concerns we have over Ms. Tucker’s work in her previous position at Compassion & Choices that has placed members of the disability community in significant danger."  

I really hope that this dialogue happens.  I hope that it will be productive in softening disability groups opposition to aid in dying.  Or at least this dialogue might clarify that there are at least two distinct camps among disability rights advocates:  those who support AID and those who oppose it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

BBC Dramatization of Assisted Suicide - "The Dilemma"

BBC One has a new show called The Secrets that ran five episodes last week.  The first was called "The Dilemma" and concerns a daughter helping her mother hasten death.  Here is the abstract:

"Pippa is a vet working in a practice based in north London. She is married to Shaun, a tree surgeon running his own outfit, and they are expecting their first child. She has been a vet for the best part of a decade and is beginning to struggle with the more complex ethical elements of her job, like putting down animals and the spiralling insurance and treatment costs that her patients regularly complain about. However, she shows remarkable grace when at work, treating all her patients with great care and attention."

"Her widowed mother Angela is diagnosed with terminal cancer. She has expressed to her daughter that she is struggling to find the energy and the reserve to keep up the fight against her illness. Knowing that at her practice she has the capability to end a life mercifully, the daughter now has to make the biggest decision she has ever made - whether to help her mother end her life."

Top 20 Medical Journals in the World

Google Scholar Metrics provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications. Scholar Metrics summarize recent citations to many publications, to help authors as they consider where to publish their new research.  

Google Scholar identifies the following as the top 20 medical journals based on citations.  I have published in 3 of these.

1. The New England Journal of Medicine
2. The Lancet
3. Cell
4. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
5. Journal of Clinical Oncology
6. Nature Genetics
7. JAMA
8. Circulation
9. Journal of the American College of Cardiology
10. Blood
11. PLoS ONE
12. Nature Medicine
13. Nature Reviews Cancer
14. Neuron
15. British Medical Journal
16. Cancer Research
17. The Journal of Clinical Investigation
18. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
19. Gastroenterology
20. Nature Immunology

Top 20 Bioethics Journals in the World

Google Scholar Metrics provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications. Scholar Metrics summarize recent citations to many publications, to help authors as they consider where to publish their new research.  

Google Scholar identifies the following as the top 20 bioethics journals based on citations.  I have published in 3 of these.

1. Journal of Medical Ethics
2. The American Journal of Bioethics
3. Nursing Ethics
4. Bioethics
5. Hastings Center Report
6. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
7. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics
8. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy
9. NanoEthics
10. The Journal of Clinical Ethics
11. Developing World Bioethics
12. Public Health Ethics
13. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics
14. HEC Forum
15. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
16. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry
17. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics
18. Asian Bioethics Review
19. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
20. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research

Friday, September 12, 2014

Palliative Care - Free Webinar Series

The MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care providing a free webinar series for clinicians and researchers working in palliative care.

The first one is on September 23:  "Palliative Care: Changing the Health Care Landscape Through Emerging Models."  Another webinar follows every other week.