Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Tag: blogs

A Collision of Medical and Journalistic Ethics

This blog is written to bring transparency to all things medical. So it’s nice when endeavors undertaken in the academic realm translate to the ‘real’ world, and vice versa.Blog1

A recent essay I wrote for an online medical ethics journal provides a good example of the confluence.

The journal’s editor created a scenario (fictional) that was like catnip to me:

A doctor/blogger had branched out into occasional radio commentary. When a school shooting occurred in her town, one of her patients was a victim (she’s a pediatrician). She became obsessed with the tragedy, seeking answers to the unexplainable. When invited to opine about the motives of the shooter on local radio, it seemed appropriate. Who better to serve as an ‘expert’ on the situation? She was professionally and personally affected.

She was surprised, then, when reaction to her radio appearance was quite mixed. Many of course welcomed her comments, but others expressed skepticism that she could be fair-minded in her appraisal of the accused. Moreover, her professional station and media platform could easily sway public opinion.vmlogo2

Was it right for her to broadcast her opinions? Should she have speculated on the motives of the alleged shooter or waited for him to have a fair trial?

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Special thanks to editor Laura Blinkhorn, MD.

Ni hao from China

In our unremitting effort to make transparent all that is Medicine, GlassHospital has journeyed to China, home of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The real reason we’re here is to facilitate dialogue and cultural exchange between two great medical schools, those being the one affiliated with GlassHospital and the one here at Wuhan University. Like many medical schools, Wuhan is looking to modernize its curriculum, emphasizing clinical reasoning and small group learning over the traditional large lecture format and rote memorization.

And, in an interesting twist, the central government has embarked on an ambitious health care reform agenda that among other goals seeks to produce more primary care doctors to serve the world’s largest population.

Hmmm, does this sound vaguely familiar? (Fodder for future posts?!?-ed.)

A couple of travel notes:

The GlassHospital family travelled to Beijing, China’s capital, on our way to Wuhan. There we saw incredible sites like the Olympic Park, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

At the Bird’s Nest stadium, famous architectural marvel and home to the track and field competition and opening ceremonies, we saw this interesting machine:

Health in a Box? (photo by SAH)

It wasn’t getting a lot of patronage, but still–we very much liked the idea of quitting smoking in a box.

Then, at the Beijing airport (a pretty fantastic architectural achievement in its own right), we were intrigued about the no smoking signs posted around. They had the usual circle-with-a-line-through-it around a cigarette, apparently sponsored by the “Beijing Patriotic Health Campaign Committee.”

That’s using civic pride to good public health effect.

A couple of other notes:

I’d heard about the internet filtering of sites like Facebook and Twitter. What I wasn’t prepared for was the blacklisting of many blogs that I regularly read. At first I thought that maybe folks like Dr. Grumpy had simply irritated the authorities with his clever and sometimes sophomoric humor. Then, when I also couldn’t find my favorite health policy blog, I thought they had my number. What had these medical bloggers done to be politically controversial?

Well, it turns out it’s a blanket proscription on all blogs Google; that is, if the blog is written on Google’s Blogger program, no dice being read in China. Apparently, it extends beyond Blogger blogs, too, but I’ll just leave it at that for now.

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