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    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Therapeutic Nihilism: More evidence that we know less than we think about persistent vegetative states. Here's an interesting take on the bias that pervades the issue:

    Bioethicist Joseph Fins, of Cornell's Weill Medical College, says that ever since the Karen Ann Quinlan case in the US in the 1970s, doctors have been abandoning brain-damaged patients too readily. As a result, fewer patients improve and the statistics get worse. Then families and doctors give up and researchers stop pursing new treatments. It becomes a vicious circle which Fins dubs therapeutic nihilism. "We've spent a long time allowing people to die," he says. Maybe they deserve more intellectual, diagnostic and therapeutic engagement than we have acknowledged."
     

    posted by Sydney on 9/20/2006 08:15:00 PM 5 comments

    5 Comments:

    Mazurland Blog has linked to this post.

    http://mazurland.typepad.com/myweblog/2006/09/noncognitive_di.html

    By Anonymous Marty, at 10:22 PM  

    Thereapeutic nihilism almost killed Haleigh Poutre http://www.masslive.com/chicopeeholyoke/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1157183508227930.xml&coll=1

    Interestingly, now there's a gag order in place to keep the family from talking about the fact she's recovering. Serious PR problems for the hospital, you see. If it wasn't for the family and the media, Haleigh would be dead.

    By Anonymous Dani, at 10:10 AM  

    Better link

    By Anonymous Dani, at 10:14 AM  

    Actually the PR problem with Haleigh's case isn't so much for the hospital as for the Massachussettes DSS, since they were the ones who went to court to have her taken off life support.

    By Blogger LibraryGryffon, at 9:36 AM  

    Yes, but the DSS relied on the assessment of the doctors (who were not correct); and it would have been the doctor who wrote the order to shut off the vent. The DSS wouldn't have gone to court in the first place if they didn't have several docs on their "side." They were fighting the family to stop life support, not the physicians.

    By Anonymous Dani, at 6:02 PM  

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