Viewpoints: Mental Health Responders Needed In Crisis Calls; ‘Goldwater Rule’ Should Be Reexamined
Editorial pages weigh in on mental health, CRISPR, organ transplants and more.
LA Daily News:
Mental Health Workers, Not Police, Should Responses To Mental Health Crises
We learned recently about the tragic loss of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Navy veteran and Antioch resident who died after family members called 911, hoping to get him help. Angelo had a history of anxiety and depression, and his family worried that he was behaving erratically – in part by hugging them too tightly – and that he might harm himself or others. According to news reports, Angelo’s mother was holding him when police arrived. They took him from his mother, turned him on his stomach and handcuffed him. According to a wrongful-death claim against the city of Antioch, the police pressed their lower legs against his neck. He lost consciousness and was declared dead three days later. (Taun Hall, 4/1)
The Baltimore Sun:
‘Goldwater Rule’ Stifles Psychiatrists’ Free Speech
Hollywood scriptwriters could not have imagined a better drama than the emerging legal battle between Yale University and renegade psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, who was fired after Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz complained that Dr. Lee violated professional standards in January 2020, when she accused him of suffering from a “shared psychosis” with other supporters of Donald Trump. The standard in question — known colloquially as the “Goldwater rule” — is an ethical principle of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) dating back to 1973. It prohibits psychiatrists from commenting publicly on the mental health of individuals they have not personally examined. In contrast, psychologists are not bound by the same code, so Mary Trump has been able to diagnose her uncle with impunity. (Jacob M. Appel, 4/2)
Fee Or Free? The Services Hospital-Based Psychologists Provide Are 'Priceless'
Hospital-based psychologists are sorely undervalued, not just for the care they provide their patients and the insights they offer their clinician colleagues, but for the substantial savings they can provide their institutions. Under the current fee-for-service model in health care, a typical one-hour therapy session with a psychologist nets their hospital or institution about $150, not enough to hire a psychologist on even a modest salary, making it difficult if not impossible for health care systems to employ them. Yet the potential for cost savings by increasing the number of psychologists in health care systems is undeniable. (Abigail Hardin, 4/2)
The New York Times:
Should We Edit Our Children’s Genes? Would It Be Cruel Not To?
For years now, I’ve had the same recurring worry: Am I focusing on the trivial? When future generations look back on this moment in history, will they remember the daily political fights — or will everything just look like a sideshow compared to humans being able to edit genetic code? The technology I’m referring to, known as CRISPR, could cure genetic diseases like sickle-cell anemia and Huntington’s. It could let us regulate height, hair color, and vulnerabilities in our children. And, one day, it has the potential to imbue human beings with superhuman characteristics — making us stronger, faster, smarter. Nor is it just us. CRISPR lets us edit other animals and plants, with all kinds of beckoning possibilities, some wonderful, some terrible. We cannot do all this yet. But it’s coming, and soon. (Ezra Klein, 4/2)
Reforming Organ Transplant Systems Will Save Lives And Money
Every day, 33 people — disproportionately people of color — die in the U.S. as they wait for organ transplants. Most of these deaths, and the suffering that precedes it, are preventable. Given that Covid-19 causes organ failure, the problem is only going to get worse. The majority of people currently waiting for organ transplants need kidneys. As people languish on transplant waiting lists, Medicare now spends $36 billion each year on dialysis, which acts like an external kidney. Not only would more kidney transplants save lives, each transplant would save taxpayers as much as $1.45 million per person through avoided dialysis. (Alvin E. Roth and Greg Segal, 4/2)
The Best Medicine Doesn't Always Come In A Bottle
Ed Bidwell lived a nightmare before waking up to a better day. A debilitating brain bleed caused by a burst artery turned his life on a dime. He temporarily lost consciousness. With the left side of his body subsequently weakened and his ability to work compromised, he soon lost his job, and he went into a tailspin. Jail time followed. And then, like that, Bidwell was on the street, one of the legions of unhoused in San Diego. Bidwell’s is one of many stories you might hear, one of the many paths that have led people into unsheltered situations. Over the past year in particular, those paths have sadly multiplied. The thing is, Bidwell can tell you his story himself—from the other side. (Carolyn Barber, 4/1)