Health and Society

Health and Society

Health and Society
The U.S. population has many disparities in health and well-being when you compare social, economic and environmental conditions. Researchers and scholars are studying ways to improve the nations health as a whole by examining various factors that influence health and inform public policy. Some academic programs have been designed to establish leaders in the health-care community who recognize these differences and look beyond the traditional spheres for ideas.

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    Defensive medicine is the practice of doctors ordering tests and procedures to protect themselves from potential lawsuits.

    Much of the excess cost and waste in healthcare can be attributed to unnecessary tests and procedures. By some estimates, as much as 30% of all healthcare spending is considered wasteful.

    Patients play a role in this process by requesting tests and procedures they have heard or read about or because their friends had one. Doctors often find it difficult to resist these requests.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Women in their 40s and 50s are part of what we like to call the “sandwich generation.” They’re taking care of aging family members (parents or siblings) as well as their kids. Not to mention, more than half of the middle-aged sandwich generation are also working full time. Add the physical and mental challenges that occur during menopause that can affect a woman’s sleep, well-being, and overall state of mind, and it’s not surprising that stress can reach DEFCON Level 1. So while it is important to take care of family, it’s just as important to take care of yourself.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Dr. Robin Miller - stem cell research

    For years, scientists have hoped that stem cell research would lead to major breakthroughs for desperately ill patients. In this video, Dr. Robin Miller talks about studies that may someday help doctors use stem cells to grow replacement body parts.


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    It depends. To the extent you are covered by insurance, such as Medicare or through an HMO, the price has already been set. If you have regular health insurance, then your insurance company will typically pay the usual and customary charges of the surgeon. If you are paying out of pocket, then it is reasonable to discuss those costs with your doctor. You can also discuss how to pay. Some surgeon’s offices will arrange for monthly billing rather than requiring you to pay all at once.

    Ultimately, the choice of a surgeon is an exercise not only in finding the right person to operate, but who will pull together all the other pieces of the picture—the staff, the directives, the method, and location of the operation—in a way that is best for you.
     
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    The Hippocratic Oath was conceived by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who is commonly referred to as the father of medicine. The oath is considered to be a cornerstone of medical ethics.

    Hippocrates sought out common sense explanations for diseases, instead of ascribing supernatural causes. By the time he died in 377, he had become the most widely-known physician in Greece.

    The classical oath is dedicated to the Greek gods, and explicitly bars abortion and euthanasia. Additionally, the classical oath prohibits doctors from performing surgery.

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    Dr. Louis Lasagna, the dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, rewrote the Hippocratic Oath into a more modern version in 1964. His interpretation of the oath emphasizes sound treatment, humility, compassion and acknowledging the patient's humanity. It also mentions prevention as being important to maintain good health.

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    The Medical Professional Project, which is a coalition of international medical foundations, in 2002, introduced a document that calls for doctors to uphold three main principles. The document, which is come to be known as the Charter on Medical Professionalism, cites three main tenets:

    • Patient welfare - The health of the patient is paramount.
    • Patient autonomy - The physician serves to advise a patient only on health care decisions. Patient choices are essential in determining personal health.
    • Social justice -- The medical community works to abolish discrimination in health care and works to eliminate disparities in health care and resources across cultures, communities and regions.

    The charter also includes a "set of professional responsibilities" that doctors are expected to uphold.

    These responsibilities are outlined with all-encompassing phrase, such as "commitment to honesty with patients," followed by a detailed explanation of what that means.

    The Charter on Medical Professionalism may not replace the Hippocratic Oath, but it does cover many of the same issues.
    Both documents share some core principles, which include the overriding importance of patient health, the importance of patient confidentiality and the necessity of maintaining nonsexual relationships with patients. But charter is more verbose than the modern Hippocratic Oath. The charter has 1,455 words; the modern Hippocratic Oath has 341.

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    In addition to the Charter on Medical Professionalism and the Hippocratic Oath, there are number of other documents that address issues of the proper care of patients.
    The World Medical Association International Code of Medical Ethics, also known as the Declaration of Geneva, contains many of the principles expressed in the Charter on Medical Professionalism. However, the Declaration of Geneva often uses more direct language.
    Another influential medical document is the Declaration of Helsinki. It was originally adopted in 1964 and has been amended five times since. The declaration prohibits experimentation on human beings and draws explicit lines for research involving human subjects, as in the case of vaccines. The document was created to outland the kind of inhumane, brutal experimentation that was performed by Nazi doctors on human subjects.

    If a successor to the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath ever emerges, it likely will draw inspiration from the Charter on Medical Professional as well as these other documents which have widespread acceptance.

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    Some hospitals have special programs for people who need surgery but do not have insurance and cannot afford to pay for needed services at the time of surgery. Check with your local hospitals to see if you qualify for free or discounted services. The amount of money you earn may be used to determine if services are free or discounted. If you are given a payment plan, be sure to understand how much you will owe the hospital and the physicians involved in your surgery.
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    Some hospitals receive government funding and/or charitable donations to provide care to patients who do not have the resources to pay. If you need assistance, talk to a financial counselor at the hospital to see if you qualify.