Rohingya face population control pressure on both sides of the border

One strand in the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar government is population control. Since 2005, the government has tried to enforce a two-child policy. Back in 2015, Physicians for Human Rights complained that Millennium Development Goals were being used by the government to force the Rohingya to have fewer children.

And now, in the squalid camps across the border in Bangladesh which are now home to more than 600,000 Rohingya, the Bangladesh government is trying to sell the same message -- with no more luck than their Myanmar counterparts. Public health official Dr Pintu Bhattacharya… click here to read whole article and make comments

Some Canadian doctors are refusing to treat attempted suicides

Canada’s new euthanasia laws are perplexing doctors who have to deal with suicide attempts. According to the National Post, there have been a number of reports of doctors who refused to treat people who had tried to kill themselves. In the case of poisons, remedies were readily available.

Quebec’s College of Physicians has issued an ethics bulletin which says that last year, “in some Quebec hospitals, some people who had attempted to end their lives through poisoning were not resuscitated when, in the opinion of certain experts, a treatment spread out over a few days could have saved them… click here to read whole article and make comments

Should doctors comply with all patient requests?

American doctors are increasingly being paid according to patient satisfaction. According to a report in Forbes, 2% of primary care physicians’ pay is now based on “patient satisfaction metrics” and 1% of specialist physicians’ pay.

Does this mean that doctors should agree with every request from a patient? The authors of a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine respond with a qualified No. “Clinician denial of some types of requests was associated with worse patient satisfaction with the clinician, but not for others, when compared with fulfillment of the requests. In an era of patient satisfaction-driven compensation, the… click here to read whole article and make comments

This is what happens when no one says No to a patient with anorexia nervosa

The death of a young Australian wife and mother raises the question of whether healthcare workers should always comply with the wishes of their patients.

A coronial inquiry is investigating the death in 2014 of a 28-year-old Adelaide woman, Claudia La Bella. It turns out that she was spending A$500 a week on laxatives, sometimes consuming as many as 800 tablets a day.

Mrs La Bella was a complicated woman. Skeletal and weak from the laxatives, she concocted a story for her family and friends that she was suffering from ovarian cancer. She had also embezzled $374,000 from her employer… click here to read whole article and make comments

South Korea debates the privacy of a patient’s intestines

Dr Lee Cook-jong during a press conference about the wounded soldier  

The escape of a defector from North Korea has ignited a bioethics controversy in South Korea.

Earlier this month, a low-ranking soldier posted in the border truce town of Panmunjom commandeered a jeep and rushed toward the heavily guarded border. He crashed the vehicle and ran through a park towards South Korea. North Korean soldiers shot at him, hitting him several times. South Korean soldiers pulled him over the border and he was rushed to a hospital.

Defections across the demilitarised zone are rare, so the… click here to read whole article and make comments

Cephalosomatic anastomosis forges ahead

Ren Xiaoping and Sergio Canavero

Head transplantation is back in the news again. Controversial Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero has claimed at a press conference in Vienna that a team from Harbin Medical University led by Dr Ren Xiaoping has carried out the world's first head transplant (aka Cephalosomatic anastomosis) experiment.

During an 18-hour operation, the surgeons transplanted a head onto a corpse. Dr Canavero says that the Chinese team would soon use this experience to move to a living human paralysed from the neck down.

The announcement was greeted with great scepticism by other scientists. “If someone’s making grand… click here to read whole article and make comments

Oral contraceptives linked to suicide

A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry has found a positive association between the use of oral contraceptives and suicide attempts and suicide.

The study, conducted by researchers based in Denmark, involved a review of nationwide registers that provided individually updated information about use of hormonal contraception, suicide attempts, suicide, and potential confounding variables. Using data from nearly half a million women, the study analyzed prescriptions and filled prescriptions for contraceptives, as well as deaths and causes of death, and compared women taking this type of birth control to women who did not… click here to read whole article and make comments

Doctors who receive a complaint are more likely to “overtreat”

Research from Imperial College London (ICL) has shown for the first time an association between the way complaints against doctors are handled and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and defensive medical practice.

The researcher team, led by Professor Tom Bourne from ICL’s Department of Surgery and Cancer, have conducted multiple studies in the past on the effects of complaints on doctors’ mental health; yet this is the first study to associate mental illness symptoms with specific aspects of the complaints process.

While many complaints against doctors in the UK are handled by the… click here to read whole article and make comments

Russian surrogacy, controversial and unregulated

A Russian senator has proposed a ban on both commercial and altruistic surrogacy. Anton Belyakov, of the small A Just Russia party, compares commercial surrogacy to prostitution, which is banned. “It is immoral and brings harm to both mother and the child,” he told Women and Girls News Deeply.

Surrogacy is booming in Russia according to News Deeply. Vladislav Melnikov, head of one of the European Centre for Surrogacy, says that 2,000 children were born in Russia to surrogate mothers in 2016. Nationwide there are around 100 surrogacy centres, including 40 in Moscow.

The financial incentive for commercial surrogacy is… click here to read whole article and make comments

‘Uber for birth control’ creates new ethical challenges

Contraception is another area where logistics is outpacing regulation in the United States. A new smartphone app, Nurx (pronounced new Rx) promises to prescribe and deliver all kinds of contraception plus the morning-after pill. Since there are no consultation or delivery fees, for women with health insurance their contraception will effectively be free. For those who don’t, the service costs US$15 a month.

It’s “Uber for birth control” – a logical development of telemedicine and new business methods.

The app is designed to make obtaining contraception as simple as possible. A woman selects a prescription, answers a few… click here to read whole article and make comments

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