Thursday, August 15, 2019

The death trap in your kitchen

"Someone will get hurt"

From the weirdly named but apparently legit inewsource:

An anonymous whistleblower is claiming that UC San Diego, one of the top research universities in the world, is putting at risk thousands of people each year because it’s not following basic rules meant to protect human research subjects and values grant funding over safety.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Who put the gas in the Lobotomobile?

Interesting question. The lobotomy was one of the most spectacular failures in the history of medicine -- a torture exercise disguised as therapy. The AMA dismissed it as ineffective in 1941. Yet it kept getting more and more popular. Why?

Economic incentives, of course. Raymond March and Vincent Geloso explain how it all worked in an article for the American Institute for Economic Research.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Whatever you thought you knew about American medical schools, the reality is looking much worse

What stands out about the ongoing Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State is not that a pedophile went to prison. It's that the administrators who allowed Nassar to abuse young girls are going to prison too. Number one in line is his dean, William Strampel, who was just sentenced to a year in jail. Turns out he was not just a pedophile enabler. If MSU medical students are to be believed, Strampel also had a habit of propositioning students and suggesting they trade sexual favors.

From the Lansing State Journal:

Jurors found Strampel guilty in June after more than five hours of deliberation, finding he used his power as dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine to proposition and control female medical students. 

The jury also determined there was enough evidence to support prosecutors' argument that Strampel displayed "complete indifference" about whether convicted sex offender Larry Nassar was following protocols meant to decrease risk for the university following a complaint of sexual assault in 2014. Nassar, who worked in the university's sports medicine clinic, is serving an effective life sentence for sexually abusing more than 500 women and girls.

Next up for trial are former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and the former gymnastics coach Kathy Klages.

You know, if the NIH genuinely wanted value for money in its bioethics funding, it would issue an RFA for someone to figure out how American medical schools have become moral cesspools. Corruption is one thing. That's easy to understand. It doesn't exactly take a brain trust to figure out that if you let pharma and device companies offer bribes to academic physicians, a lot of the physicians will take the bribes. But pedophilia? Sexual predation? And if you think Michigan State is an aberration, you haven't been following the news from USC over the past two years. Here is what student journalists there have uncovered:

Year after year, for more than 20 years, young men who entered the University of Southern California student health center were sent to Dr. Dennis Kelly. Once the exam room door closed behind them, say 48 former patients who are gay or bisexual, Kelly subjected them to sexual abuse, such as fondling their genitals or making them kneel naked on the exam table for rectal probes. One man recalled that Kelly, without warning, inserted a metal instrument into his anus, then leaned forward and whispered, “How often do you let your partner cum in you?”

At least five patients say they complained to USC about Kelly, and fifty patients have now filed lawsuits.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Big money in cancer

Especially if you happen to direct a government-funded cancer center, which makes you a pharma favorite.

"In 2017, total payments (from pharma) were $4.42 million, including $1.89 million in research payments to 12 directors and $2.53 million in nonresearch payments to 22 directors."

The study is in JAMA Internal Medicine. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

"What seems to be the problem?" "Death."

Rutger Hauer has died. The iconic scene from Bladerunner, the greatest of all bioethics movies, is of course Hauer's "tears in rain" soliloquy. But this is the scene that made the biggest impression on me the first time I saw the film.