Monday, January 15, 2018

Doctors, be careful about doing crazy radical things like protesting white supremacy

At Vanderbilt, apparently, it's enough to get you put on administrative leave.

The last entry, ­written just hours before he died, said, “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”

Writing in First Things, Aaron Kheriaty examines the growing epidemic of "deaths of despair."

In a meritocratic age, we are valued for our usefulness. Whether in the rich precincts of Palo Alto, where children face high pressure to perform, or the forgotten stretches of West Virginia, Americans are increasingly told that they are valuable only insofar as they contribute to a productive economy. Old sources of meaning—­fatherhood, fraternity, civic involvement, church membership—have receded in significance before the SAT and future earning power. When the useful replaces the good and efficiency becomes the highest value, human beings are instrumentalized. This happens at a personal level when freedom is seen as doing what you want, making life a mere means of gaining pleasure. Rather than opening up new vistas of freedom, economic and social liberation has made men subject to a logic of utility. Among the dreary death works produced by today’s culture industry, there are T-shirts that proclaim, “I’m not saying I hate you, but I would unplug your life support to charge my phone.”

America may be awash in opioids, but in the developing world it's a different story

Peter Singer writes:

The report begins with a doctor’s account of a man suffering agonizing pain from lung cancer. When the doctor gave him morphine, he was astonished by the difference it made; but when the patient returned the next month, the palliative-care service had run out of morphine. The man said he would return the following week with a rope; if he could not get the tablets, he would hang himself from the tree visible from the clinic’s window. The doctor commented: “I believe he meant what he said.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"These suits and others are pulling back the curtain on what some doctors call the Wild West of medicine: the untested and largely unregulated medical device industry."

Jeanne Lenzer writes:

Many people assume that the Food and Drug Administration requires rigorous testing of medical devices before they are approved, the same as the lengthy approval process it requires for new drugs. In fact, most high-risk devices on the market, including implants, have undergone no clinical testing at all.