Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition where the body's immune system destroys tissue around the nerves. It impacts people very differently.
It's an unfortunate reality in this country that there are significant health disparities between white patients and those of other racial and ethnic groups -- particularly black patients. Some of these are caused by unequal treatment by physicians and other health care providers. At least part of the problem is that black patients are less likely to trust white doctors than black ones.
We all know that doctors' personal biases can impact the level of care they provide their patients. They may not even be aware of these biases. However -- like all humans -- they have them. They can involve gender, race, weight and a host of other characteristics. For example, one study found that emergency department physicians were less likely to give black patients pain medication than white ones suffering approximately the same amount of pain.
Medication errors can be harmful and even deadly. Hospitals and other health care facilities have safeguards to help prevent them. So do pharmacies. However, people are human. They get rushed or tired and sometimes don't pay as much attention to the medications they're dispensing or administering as they should.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Provider Accountability Act. The proposed law would prohibit the VA from "enter[ing] into a settlement agreement relating to an adverse action" that would "conceal a serious medical error or a lapse in generally-accepted standards of clinical practice." It would also require the department to report these disciplinary actions to state licensing boards as well as the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Many people choose to have cosmetic surgery over the holidays when they can take a couple of weeks off to heal. The rate of noninvasive cosmetic procedures also rises over the holidays because people want to look their best at gatherings of family and friends who haven't seen them for a while.
One reason people are living longer than ever is that medications are available to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a host of other conditions that killed many of our ancestors before they reached what we now consider the "senior years."
If you go to an emergency room (ER) or take a loved one there, you likely aren't expecting the same level of personalized care that you receive in your doctor's office or if you checked in for a scheduled hospital stay. However, emergency room patients are entitled to a specific standard of care. When that doesn't occur and a patient is further injured or sickened as a result, legal action may be warranted.
Strokes are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in this country. People who are fortunate enough to survive a stroke are often left paralyzed -- typically on one side of their body. Many stroke survivors' ability to speak is impaired.
As patients, it's ultimately our responsibility to make the decision about whether or how a medical condition will be treated. However, we have to be able to give "informed consent." That's where the doctor's responsibility comes in.