April 11, 2015

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Climate Change: Another politician (incorrectly) thinks volcanoes pollute more than cars

“I believe that humans can have an impact to climate change, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near the level of impact of just the natural progression of our planet,” Huebsch said. “You know, the elimination of essentially every automobile would be offset by one volcano exploding. You have to recognize the multiple factors that […]

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March 17, 2015

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Science and Law: Griswold v. Connecticut: Can the state control your reproductive choices?

GRISWOLD v. CONNECTICUT 381 U.S. 479 (1965) Today’s case is considered a landmark one for establishing the right to privacy in the U.S., which invalidated a state law preventing couples from accessing contraception in consultation with their doctor. Recently, there has been a great deal of controversy with regard to abortion and even contraception and […]

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March 14, 2015

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Science and Law: Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health: The right to refuse medical treatment

CRUZAN v. DIRECTOR, MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH 497 U.S. 261 (1990) This case, which came before the Supreme Court in 1990, discusses the ethics of providing life-sustaining treatment to incompetent patients, and became an important precedent for future cases discussing the right to die. Case Background On January 11, 1983 Nancy Beth Cruzan’s car overturned […]

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February 22, 2015

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Science and Law: Hurley v. Eddingfield: What duty does a doctor have to treat patients?

Hurley v. Eddingfield 59 N.E. 1058 (Ind. 1901) (Supreme Court of Indiana) This is an important case from more than a century ago that set an important precedent regarding the boundaries of physician responsibilities. While society generally agrees that we should strive to be good Samaritans, we do not require it of people, nor do […]

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February 21, 2015

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Science and Law: Hospital v. Parents of Anencephalic Infant (Baby K): The duty to treat, futility, and what it means to be alive

Hospital v. Parents of anencephalic infant 16 F.3d 590 (4th Circuit Court, 1994) This case deals with several highly controversial issues, including the duty of a hospital to treat all patients that enter the emergency room regardless of futility, the responsibilities of hospitals before attempting to transfer a patient to another facility, and the very […]

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February 15, 2015

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Science and Law: McFall v. Shimp: Are people ethically or legally obligated to help others?

McFall v. Shimp, 10 Pa. D. & C. 3d 90 (July 26, 1978) Allegheny County, Pennsylvania This case makes an important point about the limits of an average person’s obligations to help another, and reminds us of the difference between what we believe to be moral obligations, and actual legal obligations. Case Background: The plaintiff, Robert […]

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February 10, 2015

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Science and Law: Grimes v. Kennedy Krieger Institute, INC.: When does research on human subjects become exploitation?

GRIMES v. KENNEDY KRIEGER INSTITUTE, INC. 782 A.2d 807 (Md. 2001) Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland Today’s case involves an extremely controversial example of research on human subjects that can be seen as beneficial for a larger population at the expense of a smaller one. This raises important questions about the responsibilities of both […]

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February 5, 2015

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Science and Law: Canterbury v. Spence: What are the boundaries of informed consent?

Today we’ll be discussing another interesting case regarding informed consent for patients. This raises issues regarding the boundary between physician and patient responsibilities regarding medical care and informing patients of risks. This case took place at the D.C. Circuit Court level, meaning that the case was one step from the United States Supreme Court. Case […]

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February 4, 2015

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Science and Law: Culbertson v. Mernitz: What is informed consent?

This next case deals with the idea of informed consent. How much information should a doctor be required to reveal to their patient when discussing a possible medical procedure, medication, or other medical intervention? Culbertson v. Mernitz deals with a surgical procedure, and explains some of the basic tenets of the informed consent doctrine in […]

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February 4, 2015

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Science and Law: Wilmington General Hospital v. Manlove: What is the duty of a hospital?

February 3, 2015 Published by Joseph Lachman Science and law have a complicated relationship. As medicine and science progress, new legal space is created, and over time Common Law, the kind created through judicial precedents, seeks to fill that space. Here, I’ll be covering some of the major cases involving medical science and the law. […]

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