President Trump is in ‘excellent health’

Like voters everywhere, Americans like healthy leaders. So the reassuring news that their President is "excellent health" was headline news this week. After a three-hour exam with military doctors at the Walter Reed Military Medical Centre, the White House physician, Ronny Jackson, said that it had gone “exceptionally well”. He will give a media briefing on Tuesday.

On the other hand, the news is not surprising. During the 2016 election campaign, Hillary Clinton’s fainting fit at a 9/11 ceremony in New York became another rod for her back, while Trump’s personal doctor declared that he would be "the healthiest individual… click here to read whole article and make comments

Rebuilding the tarnished image of utilitarianism

How utilitarian are you? Leading bioethicists at Oxford University, including Julian Savulescu, have published a nine-question survey which allows you to identify whether “You’re not very utilitarian at all.” or whether “You might be Peter Singer”. )Click here to take the survey at the Practical Ethics blog.)

The team at Oxford’s Uehiro Centre developed the survey, which is called “the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale”, in part, to help restore the badly dinted image of utilitarian thinking amongst ordinary people (although the proportion of those who have opinions on utilitarianism tout court is likely to be very small).

The philosophy of… click here to read whole article and make comments

Quebec nurses back euthanasia for the demented to the hilt: survey

An overwhelming majority of registered nurses working in Quebec nursing homes support euthanasia for dementia patients who have left a living will, researchers from Canada and the Netherlands. In an article in the journal Geriatric Nursing.

Euthanasia is legal in Canada, but only for patients who are competent, even if they had expressed a request for “medical aid in dying” in their lucid moments. However, this restriction is under pressure. After a man killed his demented wife, the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services asked experts to study whether MAiD could be provided for patients with advance directives.

click here to read whole article and make comments

Some Canadians unhappy with restrictions of euthanasia legislation

Canada legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide less than two years ago, but already there are complaints that the legislation is not flexible enough and allows faith-based facilities to stymie the intent of the legislation.

In Quebec, the Superior Court will begin hearing a constitutional challenge to the federal law by two patients, Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 71, who suffer from incurable degenerative diseases.

According to CTV News Montreal, “Both are dependent on others and say they are miserable and want control of their end of lives. [But] Neither qualifies for the act under federal or provincial law,… click here to read whole article and make comments

British fertility doctors back government-funded egg freezing for ‘transfolk’

Women who have sex change surgery to become men should still be able to have babies, according to the British Fertility Society.

Dr James Barrett, lead clinician at the Gender Identity Clinic at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, complains that: “The number of people coming forward with gender dysphoria has increased rapidly over the past decade. But the consistent provision of [National Health Service] funding for fertility preservation for this group is yet to catch up.  

“This is medical. It's people whose fertility is impaired as a result of actually NHS mandated treatment for a well-established condition… click here to read whole article and make comments

Chinese black-market surrogacy is booming

Fueled by high demand and high rewards, black-market surrogacy is booming in China, The Times (London) reports. Its source is The Paper, a state-run news website, which carried out a two-month-long investigation.

Agents charge commissioning couples anywhere between US$55,000 and $155,000 for a baby, gender guaranteed. It is also risky, especially if there are problems with the pregnancy or if the baby is disabled.

Everything about the transactions is illegal, from the surrogacy to gender selection. But couples are desperate. IVF is often unavailable. And after the relaxation of the one-child policy, many women want to have a second… click here to read whole article and make comments

Italy passes controversial end-of-life bill

After 30 years and 3000 attempts to propose amendments, an end-of-life bill was passed by the Italian Parliament this week which allows patients to end their lives by refusing to and drink. It also allows patients to express binding end-of-life care wishes through a text or a video.

The new legislation does not permit assisted suicide or euthanasia. However, it is clearly a momentous step in that direction. "Of course, we are still missing the legalization of euthanasia that we'll propose to the next parliament," said Marco Cappato, a spokesman for the right-to-die movement. The law was passed by a… click here to read whole article and make comments

A transplant surgeon’s autograph book

A renowned British transplant surgeon has pleaded guilty to assault after he was reported for having branded the livers of two patients with his initials.

Simon Bramhall, 53, used argon gas to label the livers “SB”. The patients were under sedation and apparently they sustained no lasting harm, as the marks disappear by themselves. 

However, Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, observed: “This is a patient we are talking about, not an autograph book.”

Mr Bramhall was suspended from his post as a consultant surgeon at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital after a colleague spotted the initials in routine follow-up surgery.

click here to read whole article and make comments

Utility or happiness? A case study from Detroit

Here’s an interesting case which illustrated the difference between health care in the US and UK. Detroit resident Vincent Thomas, 58, was battling multiple myeloma, and only had a few months left to live.

And worst of all, he was nearly blind because both of his eyes were screened by cataracts. He asked his doctors if they would authorise an operation to remove the cataracts. He was stopping his cancer medication and going into hospice care anyway, but he wanted desperately to see his family before he died.

There was an uproar at the clinical meeting at Michigan Medical. click here to read whole article and make comments

Adverse IVF incidents rise in UK: report

The UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, has issued a cheery picture of the British IVF industry in its first-ever “state of the sector” report. Its proudest achievement was to reduce the multiple birth rate to 11% -- a “fantastic achievement”, in the words of the HFEA press release

The report covered the performance of fertility clinics and research laboratories in the financial year 2016-17 across a range of criteria. It is the first such report since the HFEA was formed 27 years ago.

Prof Adam Balen, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, told The… click here to read whole article and make comments

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