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  1. #1
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    Question Recent Ethical issues in the news

    Hey guys,

    Thought it could be useful to all of us to get a discussion going on recent ethical issues in the news so we can really look at each topic from every angle and be better prepared to discuss it at interview.

    Firstly, what do you think about these topics:



    Secondly, what other articles or issues concerning medical ethics have you come across recently?

    Seren xx
    Applying for Post Grad Medicine starting 2013!

    Aberdeen Undergrad: Interview 17/1/2013 - Offer
    Newcastle Grad Entry: Interview 14/1/2013 - Offer
    Oxford Grad Entry: Rejection
    Southampton grad entry: Rejection



  2. #2
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    It hasn't exactly been in the news recently but the issues of blood donation bans for men who have sex with men was hot topic a few years ago. I was working for an AIDS awareness charity at the time and it was a fascinating debate. I'm obsessed with the student BMJ and they have several good articles stating the cases for and against. In fact, they have a whole ethics subcategory you can read through:

    Student BMJ: Topic Collections

    Additionally there are some good articles in the medicine and faith category about how many prescription drugs are not kosher/ halal but are proscribed anyway without the patients being informed which presents some interesting ethical conflicts. And of course the recent case with the mother who didn't want her son to have radiotherapy... medicine vs consent.

    Neon Roberts: mother loses legal battle to prevent son receiving life-saving cancer treatment - Telegraph


  3. #3
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    Brilliant thanks so much! Can't believe I forgot to mention the radiotherapy case :O

    Yes my university had campaigners for the gay men and blood donation/ AIDS cause a year or so ago. A very interesting topic and one I'll definitely look in to!

    Are you applying this year?

    Oh wow I didn't even consider the fact that some medications may not fit with some religious beliefs. I guess its awkward because you don't want to assume someone is religious and offend them by assuming they are religious because of their ethnicity. At the same time, I don't know if this is true of many people but I am quite ignorant when it comes to religion, of any culture, including Christianity. So I wouldn't know whether to ask if they wanted to know if the medication was Halal or Kosher or what else because I wouldn't know what belief fitted in with which culture. Do you think this could be a reason its not mentioned? Do you think doctors have a responsibility to know about what cultures require what kind of restrictions on their food (and therefore medication)?
    Having not thought about it before I would think this is rather outside the box and not really relevant, but now finding out that it applies to medication makes me think that its something that doctors really should be aware of and to make an effort to understand the needs of each of their patients, whatever their ethnicity or religious beliefs, seeing as this could affect their quality of care. I really hadn't thought about it before. Thanks for bringing it up! Always nice to have lots of things to consider and to broaden my mind

    Seren xx
    Last edited by malteser_seren; 08-01-2013 at 03:34 AM.
    Applying for Post Grad Medicine starting 2013!

    Aberdeen Undergrad: Interview 17/1/2013 - Offer
    Newcastle Grad Entry: Interview 14/1/2013 - Offer
    Oxford Grad Entry: Rejection
    Southampton grad entry: Rejection

  4. #4
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    Its interesting isn't it! It had never occurred to me either until I read this article:

    Student BMJ: Religion and drugs

    I'm telling you - student BMJ is the place to be

    Personally I think that patients have the right to follow their beliefs - if Jehovah's Witnesses can refuse blood transfusions then the same should apply for people of other faiths and also vegetarians/ vegans. But of course in practice it isn't that straight forward. I mean, it wouldn't take 5 minutes to slap on a "do you have any dietary restrictions" question before making a prescription choice but if the patient does have certain restrictions then there's a lot of liaising with the pharmacy to be done. But at the same time you can't not ask those kind of questions because you're already busy. I guess its part of the health literacy issue. If patients don't know what questions to ask then all the responsibility for issues like that lie with the doctor who, as you pointed out, has probably never considered it themselves, or takes a "what you don't know can't hurt" approach. In fact, that article lists some pretty worrying stats for the different levels of importance placed on faith friendly prescriptions by doctors and patients.

    Also, I remembered earlier about the Liverpool Care Pathway controversy from earlier in the year. It's covered quite well on the NHS website:

    What is the Liverpool Care Pathway? - Health News - NHS Choices

    Yes, I've applied this year. Got an interview with Leicester at the end of the month Congrats on your Newcastle interview - I applied there too but never heard back from them. Ah well.

  5. #5
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    Also, I just came across this:

    http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resource...y-16082012.pdf

    It says that its a summary to assist the media and it spells out the major issues of the case and why Tony Nicklinson was eventually refused the right to die. Very interesting and well worth a read.

  6. #6
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    Year 2 GEM Medicine, University College Dublin




  7. #7
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    It's great! Took me a while to get through them as I've just started my Honours project but finally finished reading them. Thanks very much, they really opened my eyes to some issues. I used to read BMJ and do periodically check it but it always manages to fall by the wayside! It will be getting a thorough viewing over the weekend though haha.

    Yeah I agree. I really think that the best option would be to state in the BNF and on the packaging which medications contain ingredients that might conflict with peoples dietary restrictions or religous beliefs. And doctors should in turn be asking their patients if they have any restrictions to their diet like mentioned already.

    That article was very interesting on the LCP. God I hate the daily mail. They make up so many lies! Its pretty much bad journalistic coverage which gave it a bad rep it seems.

    Fantastic, good luck!! Thank you I'm so nervous! There are plenty more interview dates to come so don't give up hope yet!

    Ooh thanks for that too, I will give it a read xxx
    Applying for Post Grad Medicine starting 2013!

    Aberdeen Undergrad: Interview 17/1/2013 - Offer
    Newcastle Grad Entry: Interview 14/1/2013 - Offer
    Oxford Grad Entry: Rejection
    Southampton grad entry: Rejection

  8. #8
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    There is quite a bit regarding in the LPC in the BMJ and The Lancet if you have access to those journals, and it certainly is a good topic to discuss. The fact that Question Time and the media have invited anti-euthanasia campaign groups into the debate, even though the LCP is not about assisted death/suicide just highlights what the media is doing to increase circulation and promote ignorance.

  9. #9
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    Great, thanks! Yeah I read an article about the LCP that was posted above. Will read a bit more if I have time tonight. It does seem that the media has completely blown out of proportion and skewed all information regarding this pathway. The only issues I can see with it was that some patients were put on it without fully consulting the family, and was there one case where the patient wasn't fully aware of what the LCP was? Sometimes the media can be such shits!

    What are your views on it? Also what do you think of the cystic fibrosis woman who was given donor lungs from a smoker and subsequently died from lung cancer. Should she have been informed that they were from a smoker and given the chance to refuse them?
    Should smokers be allowed to donate lungs?

    Seren xx
    Applying for Post Grad Medicine starting 2013!

    Aberdeen Undergrad: Interview 17/1/2013 - Offer
    Newcastle Grad Entry: Interview 14/1/2013 - Offer
    Oxford Grad Entry: Rejection
    Southampton grad entry: Rejection

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by malteser_seren View Post
    Great, thanks! Yeah I read an article about the LCP that was posted above. Will read a bit more if I have time tonight. It does seem that the media has completely blown out of proportion and skewed all information regarding this pathway. The only issues I can see with it was that some patients were put on it without fully consulting the family, and was there one case where the patient wasn't fully aware of what the LCP was? Sometimes the media can be such shits!

    What are your views on it? Also what do you think of the cystic fibrosis woman who was given donor lungs from a smoker and subsequently died from lung cancer. Should she have been informed that they were from a smoker and given the chance to refuse them?
    Should smokers be allowed to donate lungs?

    Seren xx
    The LCP itself is a simple framework that was developed to help standardize the care patients received at the "dying" stage of palliation, and in that respect its aspirations are quite laudable. It never aimed, or aims to replace clinical judgement nor is being placed on the pathway an irreversible practice - it helps healthcare professionals in an MDT to shift their focus towards the important needs of the patient at this stage, such as comfort, pain control and communicating with the patient and their families/carers. However, from the recent media reports it is clear that some relatives felt that their loved ones had died prematurely due to the LCP. These concerns have to be taken seriously and should be investigated. The pathway isn't supported by all Drs though, and likewise I fell that while on paper it sounds great in practice it falls short. There is also a lack of evidence over the benefits of using end of life care pathways. In a recent Cochrane review, it was stated that not enough evidence exists for any recommendations for the use of these pathways. However, because no evidence exists (yet)of adverse effects of using these pathways, the Cochrane researchers did conclude that at present they may continue to be used

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