When The Vegetative Patient May Be Able To Communicate

One of the most vexing emotional and ethical issues in all of medicine is the decision by family members to “pull the plug,” that is, to take a severely ill, non-communicate relative off of the life-support systems keeping him or her alive.

Insuring Against Cancer Patients’ Infertility

Imagine being a young woman in your 30s. You have just received a diagnosis of breast cancer, as more than 10,000 women your age in the U.S. do every year. Other young women your age may get similarly horrifying news — ovarian cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Questioning The Ads For Below-The-Waist Surgery

Not surprisingly, the headline about “designer vagina” procedures in a press release this week from BMJ Open, an online publication of the esteemed BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) caught my eye — and stopped my coffee cup in midair.

For Adults In Pain, Just Say Yes To Marijuana

I have just finished writing a book on chronic pain and, although I didn’t initially plan it this way, I ended up devoting an entire chapter to marijuana because, as I did my research, I found considerable evidence that marijuana is both safe and reasonably effective at relieving pain. In fact, if a person taking opioids (narcotics) for pain relief also smokes marijuana, the dose of opioids needed can often be reduced.

Inmate Sex Change: Should We Pay And Does The Surgery Actually Work?

As the controversy continues to swirl over sex change surgery for convicted murderer Michelle Lynn (formerly Robert) Kosilek (there’s a hearing this month on whether taxpayers should pay for her electrolysis), I got to wondering about some of the questions this case raises.