No matter which side of the political fence you sit on, most Americans agree that our health care system is broken. Health care costs in the United States are approximately 16% of our gross domestic product (GDP), and they are expected to reach 20% of the GDP by 2017. That amounts to a staggering $4.3 trillion! Costs are clearly out of control, yet 47 million Americans remain uninsured. Health care reform is an important issue of the 2008 Presidential election, and both Republicans and Democrats are proposing radical changes that will change the face of health care delivery in this country.
A recent New England Journal of Medicine article questions the ethics of psychiatrists being involved in interrogations. In 2006 the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Psychological Association (APA) issued statements that it is unethical for doctors and psychologists to be directly involved in the interrogation process. Directly involved also includes viewing the interrogation with the “intention of intervening.” Physicians are allowed to train interrogation personnel but are not supposed to tailor interrogation protocols to specific prisoners or detainees.
You know, there’s a reason why famous sayings are, well, famous sayings. It’s because they’re true and they usually sum up this truth is just a few words so as to package their neat truism in a tidy little box. BMJ’s article, New York’s road to health, quickly brought to mind one of those sayings in just two simple words: Money Talks
One controversial area where the brain, politics, and law collide is in cases where people suffer severe brain damage and are in a persistent vegetative state (this is more accurately termed complete vegetative state). In this state, the higher cortical functions of the brain are essentially wiped out. The person's brain stem is often still intact so breathing, swallowing, eye-blink, and other basic functions still can occur. However, without the neocortex (cortex that is not brainstem), the person cannot really see, hear, speak, or think.
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