the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

what was lost

In healthcare on August 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

This week’s Times magazine has an excellent (and long) article on the medical ethics battlefield that memorial hospital in new orleans became in the hours, months, and now years, after katrina. amazingly, it doesn’t throw the blame on anyone (i say ‘amazingly,’ because the scene at memorial was truly apocalyptic: overweight patients left behind, families of patients turned away, doctors administering lethal doses of morphine as the electricity, and then patient respiratory machines went out); instead, it represents a clearheaded call for resisting/rejecting the insularity and opaqueness of medical ethics boards and a plea for more thorough emergency action plans. read it. and give Dr. Sherry Fink a Pulitzer. Or better yet: put her on the new MedPAC advisory committee. This is what journalism should be:

“Father John F. Tuohey, regional director of the Providence Center for Health Care Ethics in Portland, Ore., said that there are dangers whenever rules are set that would deny or remove certain groups of patients from access to lifesaving resources. The implication was that if people outside the medical community don’t know what the rules are or feel excluded from the process of making them or don’t understand why some people receive essential care and some don’t, their confidence in the people who care for them risks being eroded. ‘As bad as disasters are,” he said, “even worse is survivors who don’t trust each other.’ ”


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  1. […] piece on Doctors’ end-of-life decisions at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans after Katrina. I commented on the piece back in August when it came out, demanding a Pulitzer for Dr. Fink and saying about her article: […]

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