Friday, April 23, 2010

The New York Times Review of You Don't Know Jack.

*The View* on Assisted Suicide/Kevorkian

Labels: , ,

The V Word Is the New N Word.

Wesley J. Smith on an interview on Larry King Live with the creator of Family Guy, Seth McFarlane:

MacFarlane’s elliptical answer indicates to me that he has never considered the question. He wasn’t asked about the show, he was asked about the epithet. Moreover, the scene did not have people appalled: The audience of the supposed play laughed uproariously when, “Terri” having been called a V, responded, “We hate vegetables!” Moreover, if the show had the kids put on an old fashioned minstrel show that used the N-word–which he almost certainly would never do, and if he did, it is unlikely it would ever be aired–would he ever just reply that the denigrating nature of the word is “for the viewer to judge?” Not on a bet.

Some concerted consciousness raising is clearly required. We have to help people understand that using the V-word to describe people with serious cognitive disabilities is as hateful and dehumanizing to them as using the N-word is to people of color, the F-word to gays, or the C-to women. The time has come to retire it from common and acceptable usage, just as we have (or are doing) with the others.

Labels: , , , ,

Doctors' Dilemma: Denominational Hospitals.

Tom Rees writes at Epiphenom about the challenge faced by doctors who work at denominational hospitals -- about 1 in every 8 -- in the U.S. Rees highlights a recent study that polled doctors on how they handled religious restrictions to medical services delivery. About 1 in 5 doctors reported having some conflict with the laws of their employing institution. So much for the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, huh? Here's a clip:

So, for example, some religious hospitals stop their doctors from providing legal medical treatment, such as contraception, abortion, and certain end-of-life treatment options.

This poses a potential dilemma for healthcare providers. A recent survey, by Debra Stulberg, at the University of Chicago, and colleagues, set out to investigate.

They surveyed over 400 doctors, chosen at random [technical note: this wasn't a completely random sample. To make it statistically robust, they specifically set out to get more doctors with South Asian or Arabic surnames, and they adjusted the results to take this into account].

Just over 40% had worked at one time in a religious hospital. This was pretty evenly spread across age, religious affiliation (or none) and other demographics.

One in five of those who had worked in a religious hospital reported that their treatment decisions had at least sometimes come into conflict with hospital policy. In other words, 20% of doctors in religious hospitals have been prevented from prescribing what they believe to be the best treatment for their patients.

Women were twice as likely as men to have faced this problem (presumably because they are more likely to be dealing with female sexual health). And young doctors were more likely than older ones to have had conflicts with hospital policy.

Although you might expect non-religious doctors to be more likely to have problems with the ethics of religious hospitals, it turns out that they are not alone. As shown in the graph, Muslims and Hindus also had problems (contraception is allowed under Islamic law).

In fact, the differences between faiths were not statistically significant (although this may be because the survey was too small).

What did these doctors do when faced with a conflict? Well, almost without exception they complied with hospital policy and denied treatment to their patients.

Labels: , , ,

Kevorkian's Death Bus for Sale.

In an instance of perfect timing, as HBO promotes the hell out of their new Kevorkian movie with Al Pacino, "You Don't Know Jack", Ebay witnesses the auction sale of the infamous "death bus" in which Kevorkian assisted a number of patients to kill themselves.

Labels: , , ,