Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.

  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup


    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:


    Medpundit RSS

    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff

    Who is medpundit?

    Tech Central Station Columns

    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews


    Medical Blogs


    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc




    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It


    SOAP Notes


    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle



    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log



    Doctor Mental



    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House



    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day


    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline


    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station





    The Skeptic's Dictionary

    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams

    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn

    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard

    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer

    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo

    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich



    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info



    Friday, December 02, 2005

    The Mirror Has Two Faces: The face transplant in France is stirring controversy among plastic surgeons. Is it a matter of ethics or jealousy?

    Doctors who gave a French woman the world's first partial face transplant did not try normal reconstructive surgery first, violating the advice of a French government ethics panel, a surgeon familiar with the case said Thursday.

    Dr. Laurent Lantieri also said he was concerned the patient may not be fit psychologically for the operation and its demands.

    ....Lantieri, who developed his own plans to attempt a partial face transplant, said members of Dubernard's team contacted him last spring, seeking details of his protocol.

    According to this story, the patient lost part of her face when the family dog bit it while she was in a drug-induced stupor after a suicide attempt. It isn't clear why a history of severe depression should exclude one from a face transplant. In this video of the press conference (mostly in French, but some English), her surgeon says that her face was so badly injured that the scar tissue was keeping her from being able to open her mouth.

    While it's true that having a transplant of any kind runs the risk of tissue rejection, which would be particularly unpleasant on the face, but that's a risk that anyone who undergoes the procedure would face. Wouldn't someone with a history of depression be more likely to suffer from a terrible disfigurement than someone with a healthy psyche? Her entire face wasn't removed and replaced, just a portion of it, frome her lips to part of her nose. (See the video link to the press conference above.) The end result is here.

    As ethics go, it's hard to see why this should stir controversy. Compared to, say, embryonic stem cells or euthanasia or abortion, this seems like small potatoes. You have a patient - a consenting adult - making a treatment decision that will affect herself alone and no one else. And in this case, the treatment is being done not to disguise her identity or to answer some yearning for youth, but to repair a terribly disfiguring injury. Few of us could suffer the loss of our faces with equanimity. Considering the extent of her injuries, it doesn't at all seem inappropriate to have tried the transplant.

    P.S. For an excellent memoir of living with disfigurement, read the book Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, who, sadly, lost her struggle.

    posted by Sydney on 12/02/2005 06:48:00 PM 1 comments


    I have a similar site related to clearpores Come by some time.
    I definitely like your site, bookmarked! This post is good stuff.

    By Anonymous acne, at 10:39 PM  

    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page


    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006