Is It Ethical to Keep a Pregnant Woman on Life Support Solely To Keep Her Baby Alive?

It astounded me to hear that, in light of the now heavily debated case of a pregnant woman in Texas named Marlise Muñoz who was kept on life support specifically in hopes of maintaining the viability of her fetus, there is currently another eerily similar predicament brewing in Victoria, British Columbia. While judges ruled last week that Muñoz be taken off life support (because doctors deemed the fetus unviable) the case for Robyn Benson is murkier. In the case of Muñoz, her family, particularly her husband, did not want her to be kept on life support even though they understood that the pregnancy would thus not go to term. It was, no doubt, an agonizing decision, but in Muñoz’s case, the red tape was put up by the hospital and the state of Texas; not the wishes of her family. Marlise Muñoz Benson’s story has emerged with a twist on the Muñoz case: her husband and the doctors agree that keeping her on life support until they can deliver the fetus via c-section is the only option. An important distinction here is that, in Benson’s case, the fetus (remarkably) is still growing normally despite the condition of the mother. But how does one even approach the idea of calling Robyn Benson the soon-to-be baby’s mother? Right now she is genetically and physically a host unit; she will not wake...

Can Medical Marijuana Be the Answer for Those Suffering from PTSD After 9/11?

Martin Lee, author of Smoke Signals, and director of Project CBD, discusses the results of a University of Calgary study that found New Yorkers suffering from PTSD after the 9/11 terrorist attacks had a lower baseline level of naturally occurring cannabinoids than those not suffering from...

Top 24 Study Jams for Your Next Exam

In college, the only thing I needed to pump me for a long day of work is a Café Americano and an isolated cubicle in a freakishly quiet library. Recently, I admit I can’t focus without a good beat.  If it’s late and you’re tired or, let’s be real, just frustrated and want to scream and throw things, look no further than my totally random playlist of instant mood lifters: 1)    Harder Better Faster Strong – Daft Punk   2)    Stronger – Kanye West   3)    Too Legit to Quit – Hammer, Sia    4)    Dirt Off Your Shoulder – Jay Z   5)    Let’s Get it – P. Diddy   6)    Titanium (feat. Sia) – David Guetta   7)    Ambition (feat Meek Mill) – Wale   8)    Better – K’NAAN   9)    Don’t you worry child – Swedish House Mafia   10)  Keep your head up – Andy Gammer   11)  Make me proud –  Drake, Nicki Minaj   12)  Skyscraper – Demi Lovato   13) Who Says – Selena Gomez   14) Float On – Modest Mouse   15)  Happy (from Despicable Me 2) – Pharrell Williams   16) Girl on Fire – Inferno Version – Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj   17) Focused feat. Kid Cudi – Wale   18) Firework – Katy Perry   19) One Top of the World – Imagine Dragons   20) The...

What Are We Losing By Not Taking a Social History?

As I am on service, I realized that one thing that can be easily lost in the race to take care of patients with limited duty hours – the social history.  The social history is part of the admission “history and physical” that once included a myriad of information about the patient’s job, life, and habits has now “fallen into despair” becoming little more than “negative for TED”, or in other words “no tobacco, alcohol (ethanol) or drugs.” But, there is so much more to it than that.   How do they afford to pay for their housing, food, and medications?  Do they have insurance?   Where do they live?  Who takes care of them or do they take care of someone else?  Do they have friends or family living nearby?   What do they like to do for fun?  Given that most of the ‘discharge planning’ focuses on these elements of the social history, it seems silly that we don’t include more than just no TED. So, when I was asked by a very astute medical student if I preferred to hear more in the social history, I said yes.   The information that is usually discussed as the patient gets better and we wonder where they will go was now presented on admission, discussed as a problem just like any other medical problem.   In just a few short days, we discerned that a...

An Interview With the Director of the CDC

Exciting news! Our sister site, The Doctor’s Channel has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  in order to promote their monthly Vital Signs report. The CDC’s Vital Signs is released on the first Tuesday of the month and is comprised of an early release of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality weekly report (MMWR) as well as a fact sheet pertinent to the topic and several social media announcements. The reports call attention to important public health topics, urging the healthcare community to take action. The January 2014 Vital Signs report addresses the issue of excessive drinking and highlights a preventive service plan comprised of alcohol screening and brief counseling. Why talk about excessive drinking?  Drinking too much or excessive drinking contributes to many negative health outcomes, including medical conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and liver diseases. Additionally, the misuse of alcohol can have social consequences including, but not limited to, car accidents, partner abuse, or birth defects in children on the fetal alcohol syndrome spectrum. Excessive drinking also contributes to excessive government spending, where approximately $22.5 billion is spent annually on alcohol abuse healthcare and a total of $175.9 billion is spent on alcohol related problems. Alcohol screening and brief counseling is an effective but underused health service and should become part of the overall screenings that health professionals provide. Who is the CDC talking to? It is the CDC’s goal to inform the public of the dangers and consequences of excessive drinking. However,...

28 Inspirational Quotes That Will Help You Hack Life

  All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot! – Dr. Seuss What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years? – Ke$ha It is a logic that many drug abusers would understand. It goes like this: I feel bad, and drugs make me feel good, although they are also why I feel bad. But since they make me feel good now, and bad later, I will worry about later when the time comes. – Roger Ebert I am not proud of the fact that major ingredients of my emotional history are available for purchase today at CVS. – Nicholson Baker I think it goes without saying that pretty much everything I’ve taught you should be prefaced with a ‘No homo.’ – Jesus Christ Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering – this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutary day-time advice for everyone. But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work – and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. – Jackie Chan I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this...

Top 4 Fears That You Will Have in the OR

Everyone is scared in the OR, especially when one is a med student. What other fears have you had when in the...

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