Tag Archives: Legal Liability

Rationing Medical Care Part II Clinical Bioethics

Efforts to encourage (or compel) physicians to lie to their patients were faced years ago when “gag clauses” were inserted into contracts between HMO’s and contracted physicians. The gag clause established a contractual obligation on the part of the physician to withhold information regarding treatment modalities that were not within the HMO protocol of allowable categories of care.  Contractually, it is common to exclude specific types or categories of care – “We will pay for this, we won’t pay for that.” Every contract of insurance has exclusions. Gag clauses, however, go further. They contractually bar physicians from fulfilling their fiduciary duties…

Clinical Bioethics – Rationing – the Ethics of Lying to the Patient – Part I Clinical Bioethics

Rationing : Withholding Medical Care by Lying to the Patient Rationing of medical care and “triage” are different. Triage prioritizes the use of limited medical resources when resources are insufficient for immediate treatment.  Rationing is the withholding of available care for political/economic reasons. With respect to rationing, therefore, it must be decided whether or not the patient is going to be told the truth. The requirement of informed consent cannot cease to exist because of political/economic policy. Nevertheless the degree of informed consent may vary with the degree and type of risk. Informed consent for a blood pressure medication may…

The Near Future – maybe Clinical Bioethics

New Reform Medical Center Serving your Community since 2010   Agreement and Release   As you enter this Hospital you understand, acknowledge and agree that this hospital rations medical care and services. This means that the hospital and physicians can determine that you may not be entitled to certain medical treatment, even if it is of benefit to you. Your physicians and hospital may conclude that medical costs to the community outweigh the benefits of the otherwise beneficial medical treatment for you, if one or more of the following criteria exist: Age, (younger than 5 or older than 68); Mental…

Daniel Hauser – and Medical Confidentiality Dilemmas in Clinical Bioethics

I agree with the court’s rulings in the case of Daniel Hauser, highlighted in the media recently. In this case there is as absolute need to continue chemotherapy. It should however be pointed out that the Court ignored Mrs. Hauser’s demand for confidentiality and contributed to this case becoming a spectacle in the media and making Mrs. Hauser the focus of overwhelming media attention, pitting her beliefs against most of the country’s. This injudicious conduct may have contributed to the panic of the mother to leave the jurisdiction and hide herself and her son. The legal issues in this case…

Life, for some in Texas, is Cheap Abandonment

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE CHAPTER 166.039. PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF COMMUNICATION For the most vulnerable patients, without friends or family, life for some medical patients in Texas, is cheap.  On vague and specious grounds and without proper oversight or transparency, physicians may withdraw life sustaining treatment from a patient, even if the patient is conscious, talking, and aware of his or her surroundings. This statute allows this to occur if a physician treating the patient concludes that the patient will die within six months and there is no…

Letting the Conscious But Incompetent, Non Terminally Ill, Patient Die Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

It must not be too easy to withhold life sustaining treatment from any patient. When it comes to a conscious patient, who is not suffering from a terminal illness, we have to be unquestionably sure we know what we are doing.      A consulting physician contacted me expressing great concern that a 60 year old female patient who would likely die without surgery was being discharged. He said, “The patient is not terminal and is treatable. She needs surgery to survive – probably amputation of one or both lower extremities. The family wants her to be discharged home for…

Randomized Pediatric Clinical Drug Trials – Africa and America Articles

In 1996, Pfizer needed a randomized trial for a new broad spectrum antibiotic and sent a team of its doctors into the Nigerian slum City of Kano during a meningitis epidemic. It was represented, to be a "humanitarian mission.” A team of Pfizer doctors arrived at the Nigerian camp where meningitis had killed at least 11,000 people.  They set up near a medical station run by Doctors Without Borders who were providing standard treatment. At the Kano Infectious Diseases Hospital, 200 sick children were picked. Half were given doses of the experimental Pfizer drug called Trovan and the others were…

Autonomy and Abandonment – Legal and Moral Implications Abandonment

Advance Health Directive: Patient has an advanced health directive, witnessed, notarized and in the format of a legal document done by his attorney, rejecting treatment if he has a terminal condition with the probability of death within a few months; and/or an irreversible condition requiring artificial life support. Patient’s daughter is designated as surrogate. The document is notarized. This 84 year old man is admitted for pneumonia; dementia; depression; anemia; malnutrition; renal failure, and hypernaturemia. History: Dysphasia, anorexia, ataxia, poor intake, altered level of consciousness, restless, hypotensive, shortness of breath, bilateral rales. He is unable to give any history himself….

Family Dilemmas in End of Life Care – Withdrawal of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

The patient, Larry M, is a man in his 40s with a wife and three children at his bedside. He is in end stage liver cancer. He has been receiving total parenteral nutrition and IV fluids and has now decided to have his feeding tube and IV fluids withdrawn and to then return home with his wife and children, and with the assistance of hospice, die as comfortably as possible. The patient feels that this is be best for him and helpful to his wife and children to go through this process with him. His physicians fully support this decision….