Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Health stories in the news

Here is a selection of recent health stories in the news that merit a discussion: With society now obsessed by the desire to prolong life, Elizabeth Grice asks if we have lost the art of dying well and examines practical steps to change our attitudes. (link via telegraph.co.uk) As pointed out in the article, women in labour have a labour partner or a birth companion to support them during childbirth so should the dying have a "death companion"? A weight-loss drug that was refused a licence in the US because of fears it could cause depression and suicide has been approved for use in the NHS in England and Wales. (link via guardian.co.uk) How can that be right? Forty per cent of girls aged 9 or 10 have been on diets, an expert claims. We look at a trend that is also increasing among boys (link via timesonline.co.uk) This trend is very sad and also very dangerous. Is it due to pressures from society - particularly the media - or is it because so many parents are insecure and always trying a new diet? An aircraft-style safety test is to be implemented in all British hospitals to reduce the risks of surgery, using a simple checklist that has been proved to save thousands of lives. (link via independent.co.uk) I think this report is fascinating! It's such a simple idea and as pointed out in the article, research has shown checklists dramatically improve patient care – at virtually no cost. Hospitals have been accused of rationing IVF by denying the treatment to smokers, in a move that will reignite debate about the right to NHS care. (link via guardian.co.uk) In my opinion, I don't think the NHS should be offering IVF treatment to any woman. While I'm sure it's distressing for women who are experiencing fertility problems, infertility is not a medical condition that requires urgent treatment. When I read about people with cancer being denied certain cancer drugs because they are too expensive on the NHS, it makes me angry to think the NHS provides IVF treatment. Thoughts? Overcrowding of wards and staff shortages are contributing to a worldwide boom in hospital infections that are putting patients at risk, researchers say. (link via independent.co.uk) Those contributing factors in hospital infections make sense but I can't see any easy solutions. The NHS is already financially stretched. Experts have raised concerns about a UK-based online medical service which offers the contraceptive pill without the need to see a doctor. (BBC News) Do you think women should have to get a prescription to buy birth control pills?

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