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In continuing the theme of dignity, disability, and respect from my last post I found this incredible video which makes my point ever so eloquently, so prop your feet up, sit back, and prepare to free your mind for the predicament that is the Euthenasia Blues.  Enjoy

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What is dignity?  It seems a simple question.  Merriam-Webster calls it the quality of being worthy, honored, or esteemed, also seriousness of manner, appearance, or language.    So dignity is something a person has, and something a person can be treated with.  What gives a person dignity?  Who should be treated with dignity? Read the rest of this entry »

 

    Di at Doctor and Covenants pointed me to this story, where a brain surgeon was operating to remove a mass from a patient and and ended up finding a foot.  The story states that this is either a rare type of tumor called a teratoma or is it a rare case of a twin that remained attached to the patients and was totally enveloped into the skull, a condition called fetus in fetu.

         The image is striking, and gives a certain visceral reaction, which is largely why pictures like this make their rounds on the internet.  Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing on a medical specialty involves learning your own answers to a series of questions?

-Do I enjoy patient interaction or not?

If no, consider Pathology or Radiology

-Do I like surgery and procedures more, or medicine and clinical reasoning, or both?

note- Anesthesia is a procedure and OR specialty, sort of surgery-lite.

Both- Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery (well peds ortho anyway), ENT, Ob-Gyn, and Emergency medicine for procedures

-Do I prefer general, broad knowledge or limiting to one area or system, Primary care or specialist?

This is often a question of knowing a little about a lot, or a lot about a little.  However, It also involves whether you prefer relatively healthy patients or relatively sick.

-Do I do I prefer to see kids, adults, or both? (remember you can do almost anything for kids that you can for adults.)

The last question was easy for me.  From my point of view, pediatric care is superior to adult medicine in so many ways. Read the rest of this entry »

Medicine has long had the intuitive goal of preserving life.  It is what medicine is for.  We are historically not the type of people to give up on life.  In our society demographically, lifespans are at an all time high, up from age 40 in 1900 to 79 for women and 74 for men.  Eradication of many childhood diseases through immunization, better care during childbirth, which historically killed one in four women lifetime, and better sanitation have all played a role. 

But medicine and infant mortaility are what have influenced the numbers most.  Read the rest of this entry »

Our technology has caused us to radically redefine our concept of death. The advent of the mechanical ventilator greatly prolonged our ability to preserve vital functions in comatose patients. We now have a arsenal of drugs that maintain the function of very sick hearts. In fact, we now have machines that can actually pump blood and oxygenate it on their own, called extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation. It is often used in babies with severe lung disease.

Death has historically, and continues legally, to be defined as the presence of the heartbeat. This technology presents a unique challenge to this idea. Technically, it we use a heart/lung machine during an open heart operation, we are operating on a dead patient. Thus the surgeon, legally if not in actuality, is raising the dead with the operation. Is this playing God, or was the patient really dead A legal rethinking of the matter was inevitable. Read the rest of this entry »

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