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Medical Ethics Advisor



  • Poor health care quality is a national problem

    A study shows only 50%-60% get recommended care. A recent analysis of data collected by the RAND Corp, a Santa Monica, CA-based health policy think tank, indicates that people in all parts of the nation are at risk for receiving poor health care.
  • Report on ART approved by pro-choice advocates

    The recent report on assisted reproductive technology (ART) by the Presidents Council on Bioethics has been drawing a favorable reception from groups advocating womens health and reproductive choice.
  • Communicate with surrogate decision makers

    Recent studies in intensive care units1 (ICU) have found that critical care specialists often try to base decisions about withdrawal of advanced life support measures based on their perception of the patients wishes and the likelihood of survival in the ICU. But making accurate decisions about a patients wishes in such situations often requires clinicians to communicate effectively with surrogate decision makers members of the patients family or others empowered to make decisions should the person become incapacitated.
  • Health 'illiteracy' may cause disparities in care

    Many adults do not understand health information. Nearly half of all American adults 90 million have difficulty understanding and using health information, and there is a higher rate of hospitalization and use of emergency services among patients with such limited health literacy, states a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
  • Research reveals pain problems in ED

    More education for physicians and research into pain management strategies appropriate to the emergency setting are needed to ensure appropriate care in the emergency department (ED), new research indicates. Two upcoming studies published in the April issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine reveal that ED physicians prescribing practices vary widely even when the clinical scenarios are the same.
  • Ethics during epidemics: Old lessons get new look

    Last years worldwide outbreak of a deadly new virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), made health systems around the world re-examine their preparedness to deal with a sudden epidemic of infectious disease. But in addition to designing new methods for detecting outbreaks and improving measures to prevent spread, health care providers again must look at the complex ethical issues that epidemics pose to society, experts say.
  • Federal ethics council releases report on ART

    The current lack of oversight for assisted reproductive technology (ART) and human embryo research is compromising the future of children created using ART as well as hindering the progress of research into new and innovative treatments for diseases and conditions, a new report from the Presidents Council on Bioethics indicates.
  • Study: More people receive mental health treatment

    More than one in four U.S. adults has received treatment for a mental health problem in the past two years, via talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two, according to a new Harris Interactive poll, Therapy in America 2004. Harris Interactive is a national research and polling firm best known for conducting the Harris Poll, which is a survey of public opinion on a variety of topics.
  • National guidelines for palliative care developed

    In an effort to better standardize and improve the quality of palliative care services available nationwide, a consensus group has released new clinical guidelines detailing what services a palliative care program should include and where providers can go for more information and support.
  • Lost in translation? LEP patients often are seen and not heard

    Although federal regulations require health care providers to provide assistance to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) including translation and interpretation services when necessary there are no objective standards or guidelines for who may work as an interpreter for health encounters. As a result, most hospitals and primary care providers have sketchy programs for communicating with non-English-speaking patients.