Longer Looks: Can Patients Refuse Doctors Because Of Race?; Out-Of-Control Tooth-Filled Tumors; Greed, Betrayal And Medical Misconduct
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The New York Times:
Should Patients Be Allowed To Choose — Or Refuse — Doctors By Race Or Gender?
Is it ethical for patients to want their bigotry to be accommodated? That’s an easy question: no, because expressing bigotry isn’t ethical. The harder question is whether health care professionals ought to accommodate their bigotry. Everyone knows that doctors must not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexuality, race, religion or national origin when they select or treat patients: It’s an obligation they accepted when they entered the health care profession. (That doesn’t mean they have to take all comers; they can turn away patients for various other reasons.) But should patients be able to choose clinicians on the basis of such attributes? The answer is: It depends. (Appiah, 8/6)
526 Teeth: How Tooth-Filled Tumors Grow Out Of Control
The boy, who appears in photos shared by the hospital but remains unnamed, only ever had a standard child’s set of 20 or so teeth visible to the naked eye. (The average adult has 32.) His parents first noticed a small lump pushing up against his right cheek when their son was 3; when they took the toddler to the doctor, however, he refused to sit still for any exams, so it remained untreated. By the time the boy’s parents brought him to the dental hospital, the lump was nearly the size of a golf ball. Last month, doctors surgically removed the growth and sliced it open. They found a sac with 526 tiny teeth inside, like a fleshy, overstuffed coin purse. The sac was an odontoma, a noncancerous growth that forms in some children during the years-long process of tooth development. Baby teeth, and then later on secondary teeth, grow from clusters of stem cells deep in the jaw, pushing up from below and erupting through the gums once fully formed. As the secondary set grows and baby teeth begin to fall out, the jaw stretches to accommodate its new, larger tenants. With all this growth and movement, the stem-cell hubs can sometimes forget what they were supposed to be doing and spin out of control, producing tooth-building materials. (Weiss, 8/6)
Greed, Betrayal And Medical Misconduct At North York General
The labour and delivery nurses were suspicious. Five pregnant women, all in rapid labour, arrived at the North York General Hospital triage on the same day—a Saturday in May 2016. The deliveries were happening fast—too fast—and because it was the weekend, the nurses were short-handed. One patient, at term in her first pregnancy, was fully dilated just an hour after being admitted and gave birth 25 minutes later. Another arrived suffering from uterine hyperstimulation—when contractions come too frequently or last too long, a serious complication of being induced. As a result, her baby’s heart rate was slowing ominously, and the staff had to deliver it via emergency C-section. But the patients all said they hadn’t been induced, and their charts showed no indication of induction, either. What those five women had in common was their doctor: Paul Shuen, a highly respected ob-gyn and gynaecological oncologist. The nurses figured it must have had something to do with him. Staff wrote up a formal report of the incident and passed it up the chain of command. (Lista, 7/24)
The New York Times:
He Liked To Work Outdoors On The Weekends. Was It Killing Him?
The 75-year-old man carefully lowered the caged queen bee into the center of the newly assembled hive. Then, around her, he tipped a box buzzing with hundreds of worker bees, still groggy from the smoke. His wife lowered the lid, careful not to injure any wanderers. Their first hive was finished. The woman could tell that her husband was tired even before he took off the netted hood of his new beekeeping suit. His normally vigorous stride was slow and a little unsteady. He struggled onto the porch. “I need to lie down,” he told her. Even though it was early May, it was plenty hot in the small city of San Marcos, Tex., just northwest of San Antonio. (Sanders, 8/8)
How The Cayman Islands Could Become A New Health Care Destination
As health care costs continue to rise, practitioners in India are working to lower prices -- and bring their innovations closer to American shores. Health City Cayman Islands is a new frontier for India’s largest for-profit hospital chain. Focused on efficient health care delivery, its services are now drawing Americans to the Cayman Islands. (de Sam Lazaro, 7/7)
The New York Times:
Tainted Pork, Ill Consumers And An Investigation Thwarted
It was 7 a.m. on Independence Day when a doctor told Rose and Roger Porter Jr. that their daughter could die within hours. For nearly a week, Mikayla, 10, had suffered intensifying bouts of fever, diarrhea and stabbing stomach pains. That morning, the Porters rushed her to a clinic where a doctor called for a helicopter to airlift her to a major medical center. The gravity of the girl’s illness was remarkable given its commonplace source. She had gotten food poisoning at a pig roast from meat her parents had bought at a local butcher in McKenna, Wash., and spit-roasted, as recommended, for 13 hours. (Richtel, 8/4)