Friday, February 5, 2010

Zero Tolerance - Sex With Patients

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 26:  Italian designer...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The College of Chiropractors of Ontario (the equivocate of a state board of chiropractic examiners) suspended the license of a chiropractor for 5 years for professional misconduct.  The doctor in question, treated his girl friend and then marked her bills paid.  She submitted them to insurance and would give him the funds.  After they broke up he tried to collect the balance of her account and then referred her account to a collection agency.  She didn't complain about his having had a sexual relationship with her, she complained about his billing practices.  Nevertheless there is a zero tolerance policy for having sex with patients and the College
The college's decision was based upon one salient fact, the doctor was having sex with a patient.  The nature of their relationship was immaterial. 
The issue which I've stressed in my classes on ethics and risk management as well as my ethics column that any relationship founded upon an imbalance of power is not consensual.  In the doctor-patient relationship the doctor has the professional knowledge and knowledge is power.  Thus there is a professional boundary between the patient and the doctor that can never go beyond that relationship.
For more details see the article in the Globe and Mail:  Giving care to his girlfriend puts chiropractor in hot water or on CTV Waterloo chiropractor loses his license
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Foot Detox Pads

rancidImage by welovepandas via Flickr

Laura Johannes writes in the WSJ online about the silliness called foot detox pads.  Congratulations for getting to the bottom of this pile of crap.  The sale of these pads and the use of ion detox foot baths are proof positive that science hasn't really affected the thinking of enough Americans to prevent snake oil salesman from making a living in our modern age. 

The great irony of today's internet, driven by content sensitive advertising is that the "sponsored links" just below her article are for three companies that sell the items she has just attempted to debunk.  Gotta love adsense or is it nonsense.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Autism's False Profit - Disciplined

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Dr Andrew Wakef...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Andrew Wakefield is the medical doctor whose discredited research started the whole scare over MMR causing autism has been disciplined by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK.  The GMC (the regulatory agency that oversees the medical profession in the UK) ruled that Wakefield had showed a “callous disregard” for the suffering of children.  They also ruled that his research was deceptive. 

Wakefield and colleagues published a paper in the prestigious and venerable British medical journal, The Lancet which detailed 8 children who supposedly became autistic after getting the MMR vaccine.  The children had gastrointestinal symptoms which lead to the theory that the vaccine changed the permiablity of the GI track and allowed substances into the blood and eventually to the brain resulting in autism.  The paper said that the children were consecutively seen when this was not true.  Most of the authors retracted the paper 6 years after it was published and today the journal completely retracted the 1998 paper that created all the controversy.  What allowed the journal to retract the paper was the GMC's decision that the paper was deceptive. 

I guess one could say too little too late.  On the other hand I view this as the self correcting nature of science.  Clearly there has been significant harm because of this paper and the hysteria it has provoked.  Those who believe that vaccines are the cause of autism, of course, will not let any amount of scientific evidence change their minds.  As it is said “You cannot reason people out of a position they have not reasoned themselves into.”


NY Times article about this

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