What should medicine do when it can't save your life?
Atul Gawande looks at the system of final-stage treatment for terminal patients, which, despite more than 40 years of a hospice movement
for better end of life care, often ensures that patients die exactly how they least want to: in a hospital, hooked up to machines. Gawande tries to envision how, "when the chemotherapy stops working, when we start needing oxygen at home, when we face high-risk surgery, when the liver failure keeps progressing, when we become unable to dress ourselves" medical care can focus on quality of life, rather than prolonging it. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco
on Jul 26, 2010 -
What US Health Care Needs Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board.
posted by kliuless
on Jun 21, 2010 -
It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream!
Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog
on Apr 24, 2010 -
The Obama Coalition
"These general findings suggest the possibility that the political strength of voters whose convictions are perhaps best described as Social Democratic in the European sense is reaching a significant level in the United States. With effective organization and mobilization, such voters are positioned to set the agenda in the Democratic Party in the near future.
posted by Glibpaxman
on Apr 4, 2010 -
Following the vote on Sunday, Mike Troxel of the Lynchburg Tea Party posted the address of what he thought was Dem Rep Tom Perriello, with the comment that activists should add a "personal touch" to their anger at Periello -- who voted yes on the health care bill -- by going to his house. It turns out the address was actually Perriello's brother's house, and the FBI are currently investigating the cut gas line that was discovered the next day
. [more inside]
posted by FatherDagon
on Mar 24, 2010 -
"In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance
. Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis [now Assurant Health
], revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that." [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Mar 17, 2010 -
Do you have a life-changing medical condition? Patientslikeme (mentioned previously in a 2008 post on mood conditions)
is a way for you share information online with other people who have the same condition. Some of the conditions with groups established already are epilepsy, depression, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Started by 3 MIT engineers who had personal experiences with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), the site is funded by partnerships with healthcare providers
who have access to anonymised data about the member base. The stated goal in their Openness Policy
has a plain-English description of what happens to information that members share.
posted by harriet vane
on Mar 16, 2010 -
Atul Gawande offers a way
for health care to be improved through experimentation and pilot programs, much as agriculture was in 20th century
posted by reenum
on Feb 27, 2010 -
Is There Life in Health Care Reform?
Elizabeth Drew analyzes the current prospects for US health care reform, in the New York Review of Books. Logically, there should still be a way to get a bill passed. But logic went out the window on January 19. The situation was as much psychodrama as legislative stalemate. The perfectly reasonable argument was made to Democrats in Congress, mainly by the administration, that, having voted for the bill already, it would be worse for them to fail to pass it than to pass it, but this seemed not to be heard.
posted by russilwvong
on Feb 16, 2010 -
Health Care: Who Knows 'Best'?
"...comparative research on effectiveness is only part of the strategy to improve care. A second science has captured the imagination of policymakers in the White House: behavioral economics. This field attempts to explain pitfalls in reasoning and judgment that cause people to make apparently wrong decisions; its adherents believe in policies that protect against unsound clinical choices. But there is a schism between presidential advisers in their thinking over whether legislation should be coercive, aggressively pushing doctors and patients to do what the government defines as best, or whether it should be respectful of their own autonomy in making decisions. The President and Congress appear to be of two minds. How this difference is resolved will profoundly shape the culture of health care in America." Interesting NY Review of Books article by Jerome Groopman
posted by cog_nate
on Feb 8, 2010 -
"Melissa" (name changed for privacy) is a transwoman who was badly injured in a car accident and is in hospital in critical condition. While in treatment, some of the medical staff and her family decided that since she still had a "male" body, to make things "less confusing", they will erase 4 years of her female identity by referring to her as a man and taking her off her hormone therapy
. (Warning: possible triggers) As little light puts it:
And if she woke up as from a deep sleep, she’d wake up into a world where her best friend was dead, where her body had been forcibly edited back to its pre-transition state and given a few more years of the influence of testosterone to boot, where her memory and self were hazy and confusing and nobody was calling her by the right name and pronouns, they were in fact pretending four years of her life, the four years she finally got to be honest and true to herself, those had never happened, and shh, she’s just confused, shhhh, calm down, let’s work on fixing your memory some more. [more inside]
posted by divabat
on Jan 13, 2010 -
Yesterday, the little-noticed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force caused a stir by releasing new guidelines
discouraging routine mammography for women under age 50 and breast self-examinations at any age. (Comparison chart of new and old guidelines here
.) The American Cancer Society immediately registered its strong disagreement
; meanwhile, the National Breast Cancer Coalition came out in strong support
of the new guidelines, saying:
The over-emphasis on the importance of screening, despite a lack of strong evidence, has been elevated to such a degree that some even equate screening with prevention of breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Coalition hopes that today’s release of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) revised recommendations will put the brakes on this run-away train and will put screening and its limitations into proper perspective. [more inside]
posted by iminurmefi
on Nov 17, 2009 -
Health care around the world
: The state has had success over 35 years of requiring employers to provide health care benefits.
: Its health care is first class, cheap and market-driven.
: "more than 80 percent of the population is happy with the system"
: "300 million people have no coverage at all"
: "America is going to go Dutch"
: "I just wanted to flag for colleagues that their bosses should be careful using the talking point that under the Dem bill, Americans who don't like the coverage they have, will be able to choose something else... more than 90 percent of Americans will remain barred from shopping for insurance in the exchange."
posted by kliuless
on Oct 23, 2009 -