Latest "Medical Ethics" Posts

What’s the Government’s Game with Deflazacort

The drug deflazacort has been used for many years to treat a terrible disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. About 15,000 Americans suffer from this incurable disease. Deflazacort is a drug that has been shown to be much more effective than conventional steroids. If someone in your family has the disease, you can import the drug for about $1,200 per year. If you try to buy it here, it will run you about $89,000 per year. This is not a joke.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Health, Health Care, Medical Ethics and tagged , , ,

Is The Hippocratic Oath Sick in Modesto, CA? Medical Ethics

Every choice has a consequence. How often have I said that and in how many settings? Yet, some people and even professions believe it always applies to the other guy. Big shots think that unethical behavior is the domain, for example, of automobile mechanics. Truth is, I have known many, extremely ethical automobile mechanics. Poor ethics is not determined by income, nor class, education or profession. Proof in point is what has just occurred in Modesto, California.  Seems that medical ethics has gone bad!

Medical Ethics

Modesto is a lovely community in the middle of the California’s Central Valley. It is surrounded by agriculture; almonds, fruit trees, dairy farming and grapes. This case of bad medical ethics involving five medical doctors plus medical billing businesses and pharmacies smells more like the substance that farmers put on their fields.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , ,

Is There More Corruption in Our Ethically Sick Healthcare System?

Healthcare industry “experts,” and there are many, never cease to offer their opinions on how to improve the system. Healthcare costs have spiraled, and everyone seems to be blaming everyone else. Politicians love the debate. They can remain above the fray. After all, they get healthcare for free!

Healthcare insurance form with calculator

For the rest of us poor souls who pay premiums, co-pays, pharmaceutical costs and for supplies “not part of your plan,” healthcare as an industry often seems sicker than we are. Where does all of the money go? We maintain that it goes down the drain of bad ethics. I also feel that the healthcare debate, as massive as it is should start and end with good ethical practices.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , , , , ,

What Does a Medical Ethics Failure Look Like? Jeremy David Duke Knows!

This case of opioid diversion from May 2017, took place in the State of Mississippi, Jackson to be specific, but it could have occurred in any state in the nation. In fact, in 2016, in Indiana alone, there were 37 healthcare providers charged with opioid embezzlement.  What does Medical Ethics Failure look like?  Here it is!

It is important to add that nationwide, opioid deaths are up to 90 people a day. It is especially troubling when these drugs go through back-channels courtesy of physicians and registered nurses looking to make easy money. The age range most commonly affected by opioid addiction is 25-40; younger people who have a drug dependency problem, not a condition or post-surgical pain. The money gained by unethical behavior – Medical Ethics Failure – can be made by stealing, but more often through over-prescription. The over-prescription, whether intentional or unintentional, still leads to addiction and death.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , , ,

Medical Ethics: Where High Drug Prices are Leading Us

Not long ago, I was walking along a city street on my way to delivering a keynote speech. It was chilly, but not uncomfortably so, though a rain had fallen. I saw a man, obviously homeless, standing outside of a large pet shop. He was eating something from a can using a soup spoon. My worst fears were confirmed as I passed him; it was cat food.  The scene was sad, but it goes much further than cat food.  The question is where are high drug prices and the cost of medical care leading us?

High Drug PricesThe sight moved me and I slipped him a few dollars. He didn’t ask for it, he wasn’t begging, but I could not help myself.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics and Insurance: Where is this all going?

Every so often, a picture hits the internet and goes exponentially viral. Usually, these images are of cats playing banjos or one of the Kardashian sisters reading a book but the most recent image causes everyone to stop and think. The image is of an elderly couple, both in wheelchairs, saying good-bye to one another. They are holding hands, crying, wiping their tears with tissues.  So touched when I saw this I had to ask about medical ethics and insurance – wondering where this is all going.

Medical Ethics and InsuranceWolf and Anita Gottschalk have been married for 62 years. Wolf is drifting into dementia and also has lymphoma as well as congestive heart failure. Anita is growing feeble as well. You would think they would be comfortably settled into an assisted living home and living their last year’s side by side.  But no!  Issues related to medical ethics and insurance is creating another outcome.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , , , ,

Insurance Fraud – A Medical Ethics Free-for-All

Miami has set up a task force to deal with insurance fraud, and with good reason. In Miami it is a $1 billion dollar industry that is an ethical free-for-all where the biggest losers are you and me.

Insurance FraudIn the most recent case, the clinic had worked out a bizarre scheme. The Brothers Medical Center has been under investigation since September 2015. Led off in handcuffs earlier this week was the clinic’s physician, his head therapist and a receptionist and administrative person. They have been charged with filing false or fraudulent insurance claims, third-degree grand theft and organized scheme to defraud.  This is insurance fraud pure and simple.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , , ,

When Medical Ethics Training is Non-existent

For quite some time, I have been a strong advocate for ongoing medical ethics training outside of the medical education setting. I personally do not feel that many physicians, nurses and para-professionals are equipped to handle the medical-ethical challenges that the real world presents.  Today more than ever medical ethics training is a necessity with issues arising from patients, insurance companies, and the government. It’s impossible to avoid issues and training in the real world is critical.

medical ethics trainingMedicine can be quite insular, even though they are obviously dealing with life and death matters. It is sometimes a harsh and unforgiving world but then again, so is piloting a jetliner or being a police officer. As with any profession then, within the narrow world of medicine, there are some medical care providers who forget their ethics and their responsibilities and practice not medicine, but common place fraud.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , , , ,

Medical Ethics – Physician Goes to Jail for Pain-killer Prescriptions

There is an image from the Los Angeles Times from February 5, 2016 that is very disturbing to me. It is a physician, Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng who is sitting in a courtroom dock in a Los Angeles. She is an M.D., and only 46 years of age. She is wearing a blue prisoner’s outfit that says “County Jail,” and her hands are bound in chains. She has just been sentenced for 30 years for second-degree murder.  This is Medical Ethics gone wrong!

Medical EthicsShe prescribed painkillers that ultimately killed three patients who overdosed. It is said she not only failed patients to supervise patients with addictive personalities but she blamed everyone other than herself for their deaths. She blamed the patients, she blamed the pharmacists and she even blamed other doctors; she never blamed herself.  Every choice has a consequence and in the medical ethics world the mirror reflects the one looking in it.  In this case Dr. Hsiu-Ying Tseng.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Health, Health Care, Medical Ethics and tagged , , ,

Medical Ethics: Tracy Dart the Cancer Survivor Who Never Had Cancer

Every so often, a story crosses my desk and I am confused as to whether to scream and throw things or feel pity. In the case of Tracy Dart, I suppose I want to do both.  This is a medical ethics Tracy Dart question at its best.

Tracy DartIn an online article appearing on February 2, 2016 for FoxNews.com, we are treated to a story about medical ethics Tracy Dart. The article’s headline will give away the story, at least the “newsy” side of things: “Seattle woman who raised $400G as cancer survivor reportedly never had the disease.”

For more than 10 years, the woman raised close to a half-million dollars for the Komen Foundation. What would occur over time is that she would have “cancer spells.” In fact, she had three such spells, each time shaving her head and eliciting sympathy from friends, family and local businesses.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , , , ,