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Is Facebook a place to get medical advice? What can stem cells do for us? How much money is not too much to spend on end of life care?

Facebook and Medical Ethics

  • How Facebook Saved My Son's Life (Slate) July 2011.
    Mother's Day morning, my 4-year-old woke up with a rash. It was my 16th Mother's Day. I was inclined to ignore rashes. But a note had just come home from day care reporting a case of strep in Leo's classroom, so I dutifully felt his forehead, noted it was hot, and made an appointment at a medical office with Sunday hours. 

  • Doctors warned over using Facebook (The Independent) July 2011.
    Doctors should not accept Facebook requests from patients, the British Medical Association (BMA) says. The dangers of breaching confidentiality, damaging their professionalism and risking the doctor-patient relationship are too great, BMA says.

Stem Cells

  • Opinion: Stem cell clinics ripping off patients, bullying scientists (MSNBC) July 2011.
    No one likes a bully. Intimidation is a rotten way to get what you want. Yet, incredibly, that is exactly what some in the stem cell therapy industry are trying to do to a group of scientists trying to speak up about the often fraudulent nature of their business.
  • Opinion: A tough medical ethics question (The Florida Times-Union) July 2011.
    Question: Would you ask your children to pay the $120,000 to extend your life four months? As it stands, you don’t have to do that. You can ask the rest of America’s children to pitch in. Medicare does not consider cost when approving a new drug.

Vaccination Debate

  • CDC still listening to youth vaccination debate (LA Times) July 2011.
    Mediators were dispatched to help keep the conversation civil at a health forum in Chicago last week — a clear sign of the passionate opinions elicited by the debate about whether the federal government should recommend that babies be vaccinated against meningitis.

  • Measles Resurgence Tied To Parents' Vaccine Fears (NPR) April 2010.
    A generation ago, up to 4 million U.S. children got measles every year. Hundreds died, and thousands were left with permanent brain damage. Thanks to vaccination, those days are over, at least in this hemisphere. But health officials worry about the growing number of children who are vulnerable when somebody brings measles from another part of the world.

  • Opinion: Immunity: when it's smart to go with the herd (The Guardian) June 2011.
    Infectious diseases that used to claim the lives of one in six children before their fifth year are making an alarming comeback in the US. The culprits are parents who should know better – and the politicians who bend over backwards to accommodate them.

  • Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines (NY Times) March 2008.
    In a highly unusual outbreak of measles here last month, 12 children fell ill; nine of them had not been inoculated against the virus because their parents objected, and the other three were too young to receive vaccines.

  • Ruining it for the rest of us (This American Life) 2008.
    Measles cases are higher in the U.S. than they've been in a decade, mostly because more and more nervous parents are refusing to vaccinate their kids. Contributing Editor Susan Burton tells the story of what happened recently in San Diego, when an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy returned home from a trip to Switzerland, bringing with him the measles. By the end of the ordeal, 11 other children caught the disease, and more than 60 kids had to be quarantined. 

  • The Vaccine War (Frontline, PBS) 2010.
    Examining the emotionally charged debate over medical risks vs. benefits and a parent's right to make choices about her child vs. a community's common good.

Other Issues in Medical Ethics

  • Babies' foreskins could be sold: Ethics watchdog (The Times, South Africa) 2011.
    Doctors and ethicists are embroiled in a dispute with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi over fears that babies' foreskins will be sold illicitly to the global cosmetics industry.