Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Spencer Davis, 1939-2020

Spencer Davis has died at age 81. The New York Times has an obituary.

“There’s unquestionably vaccine nationalism involved,” Prof. Moore said. “It’s a race for money and glory. That’s the reality of it.”

The UK is set to begin Covid-19 challenge trials in January, says the New York Times:

The first round of volunteers, up to 90 healthy adults aged 18 to 30, will have the virus dripped into their noses without having been vaccinated. If not enough participants become infected, the scientists will try to expose these early-stage volunteers to a higher dose, repeating the process until they have identified the necessary exposure level of the virus.

Only once the scientists decide on a dose, which they intend to do by late spring, will they begin the process of comparing vaccine candidates by immunizing the next group of volunteers and then exposing them to the virus.

The volunteers in London will be paid roughly Britain’s minimum wage, which is about £9, or $11, per hour, for their time in taking part in the trial and their two to three weeks in mandatory quarantine. The researchers said they were wary of offering additional incentives that could cloud the judgment of volunteers.

Monday, October 19, 2020

How to handle medical debt collectors


Advice from a former debt collector, fact-checked by an attorney. From the excellent podcast, "An Arm and a Leg."

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Ambien dreams

 It doesn't get much worse than this.

Okay, well, asparagus would have made it worse.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Chuck Bosk, Renee Fox, David Rothman: A Tribute

 In Bioethics Forum, Barron Lerner writes:

One of the joys of historical scholarship is how historians eventually themselves become part of the history. Like the people they studied, these three scholars worked at a particular historical time—one in which patient autonomy was supplanting the traditional paternalism of medical practice. Bioethics, a field with which all three had a productive but uneasy relationship, was becoming an established part of the world of medicine. By reminding us that medicine is profoundly a social process, Fox, Bosk, and Rothman helped to explain why these changes occurred. So while their work will necessarily become more dated over time, I hope that they remain on syllabi for medical, graduate, and undergraduate students. They all taught us doctors why we do what we do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Is lethal injection like execution by waterboarding?

 An NPR investigative team has reviewed over 200 autopsies of inmates executed by lethal injection. 84% of cases showed signs of pulmonary edema. This suggests that lethal injection, far from being a more humane means of execution, is causing inmates to suffocate in their own fluids before they die. 

An excerpt:

Magistrate Judge Michael Merz deliberated for a month, then wrote his decision.

"All medical witnesses to describe pulmonary edema agreed it was painful, both physically and emotionally, inducing a sense of drowning and the attendant panic and terror, much as would occur with the torture tactic known as waterboarding," he wrote.

For the first time, a federal judge ruled that pulmonary edema, as shown in autopsies, reached the Supreme Court's standard for cruel and unusual punishment and that it "certainly or very likely causes severe pain and needless suffering."