Sunday, October 4, 2015

How do drug companies get away with charging so much?

Because "unlike every other advanced country, the United States permits drug companies to charge patients whatever they choose." Marcia Angell explains.

Mental Illness is the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings

From Vanderbilt University:

In the shadow of the two-year anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings in American history, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an extensive new study by two Vanderbilt University researchers (Jonathan Metzl and Kenneth MacLeish) challenges common assumptions about gun violence and mental illness that often emerge in the aftermath of mass shootings.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

“What I do recall most distinctly was the committee probing on how I might keep my review and recommendations from being a public document”

What do we know so far?

We know that the Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights is investigating the U for Title IX violations. We know that the U paid out a quarter million dollars in a lawsuit settlement after a little "semi-nude" modeling in the gymnastics program. We know the university is facing a gender discrimination lawsuit after it fired three gay coaches at the Duluth campus.  And we know that the administration's botched handling of the Norwood Teague and Mike Ellis affairs have turned the University of Minnesota into a national punch line.

Today, thanks to the Star Tribune, we know (as if we didn't know before) that university officials have something else they are trying to hide. But we don't know exactly what it is.

Two years ago, the U hired a consultant named Janet Judge to conduct a gender equity review of the athletics department.  But it never disclosed her findings, and despite the fact that the U is a public university, it took steps to ensure that the review would never see the light of day. “I think the only reason you do that is because you’ve got something to hide,” Minneapolis attorney Priscilla Lord told the Strib.

On Friday, the university released an eight-page "Interim Report and Equity Plan for Gopher Athletics."  You can read it here.  It discusses Judge's findings.  But you have to wonder: if this is the U's scrubbed, cleaned-up version of its potential Title IX problems, what have the federal investigators found?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tips on surviving as a bioethics faculty member at the University of Minnesota

Get a prescription for Kafkambien and Orwellbutrin.

“I prayed that they would die so that I wouldn’t have to stay up for two more hours.”

On the brutality of medical residency training, in The Atlantic.

"We should have called the University’s top administrators in to come clean up that bathroom, and while they were scrubbing the excrement off the walls, ask them to reconsider their wage offer to the Teamsters"

From Brad Sigal, writing in the Minnesota Daily:

I sit at the front desk in my office in Peik Hall. There’s a women’s bathroom across the hallway. Last week, a woman came into my office with a pained look on her face that was a blend of shock, disgust and disbelief. 

After looking at me for a few seconds, she finally said in a hushed tone that the women’s bathroom is not right. There’s poop all over the place — on the floor, on the walls — a lot of it everywhere. 

I said I’d call someone to come deal with it. As I’m dialing the phone, I hear the guy who cleans in my building — a Teamster — rolling the cleaning cart toward the bathroom. 

He’s already gotten word somehow, and he’s there with a “closed” sign already up on the bathroom door. He’s putting rubber gloves on and heading in to clean up the disgusting mess that someone left. He’s worked here for decades, cleaning up other people’s crap (among other things). 

That’s his job. He’s the one who has to clean piles of excrement from bathroom surfaces so that students, professors and the rest of us who work here can go into a clean, usable bathroom. He’s one of the Teamster workers that the University of Minnesota administration is offering a less than one percent pay increase to in contract negotiations, after years of very little in increases during the economic downturn. 

I commented to him that we should have called the University’s top administrators in to come clean up that bathroom, and while they were scrubbing the excrement off the walls, ask them to reconsider their wage offer to the Teamsters and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees workers in contract negotiations. 

People whose jobs are to clean human excrement off floors and walls deserve all of our respect and thanks — and not just saying “thanks, man.” They need a real thanks, and that means getting paid a decent amount of money. 

If administrators can’t find it within themselves to do that, I wouldn’t blame the Teamsters one bit if they were to refuse to clean up any more crap until the administration sees the light.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why so late in halting recruitment of vulnerable psychiatric patients? asks The Minnesota Daily

A welcome opinion from the editorial board of The Minnesota Daily:

Halting subject recruitment from the pool of emotionally unstable patients in 72-hour emergency holds is a step in the right direction, but one we would have expected the University to have taken much earlier. 

We were surprised to learn that a top research university that prides itself on medical discovery hadn’t enacted a policy like this previously. It’s also distressing to consider that researchers have been able to approach people in crisis and ask them to participate in potentially demanding research, like drug studies.