On responsibility

I’ll leave the “sloppy thinking” series for now, although I expect to return to it in the future. In this post I’ll share some thoughts about personal responsibility, especially as it pertains to the insanity defense. It’s a topic much in the news lately, due to tragic actions by now-household names such as James Eagan […]

Conflicts of interest in medical education: Disclosure may not help

Yesterday’s New York Times had an interesting op-ed, “Stumbling into Bad Behavior,” about corruption and unethical conduct in corporate and financial settings. The authors, Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, are academics who wrote a book about ethical blind spots. They note that regulators, prosecutors, and journalists tend to focus on corruption caused by […]

Psychiatry and ethics: A whirlwind tour

The following is my article originally published in San Francisco Medicine (Vol. 83 No. 10, December 2010), the monthly journal of the San Francisco Medical Society. This issue was devoted to “Psychiatry for the Nonpsychiatric Physician.” Reprinted by permission.

The practice of psychiatry is rife with ethical issues. Some critics, such as author-psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, […]

Dollars for Docs

I apologize to my loyal readers for not posting in a long while. Fortunately, I was awakened from my torpor by an eye-opening new database that lists some of the money paid to specific doctors by pharmaceutical companies. The Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists at ProPublica tapped the public disclosures of seven companies that have […]

Psychiatric holds and refusal of medical treatment

I apologize for the stagnant blog of late. I’ve been working on an idea or two that hasn’t jelled yet. Meanwhile, I ran across a familiar yet troubling occurrence the other day: The use of a psychiatric hold on an inpatient with no psychiatric disorder but who was refusing life-saving medical treatment.

My comments are […]

No free lunch

The following is my article originally published in Ethical Times (No. 16, Fall 2008), the bulletin of the Program in Medicine and Human Values at California Pacific Medical Center. Since this piece appeared, PhRMA has voluntarily suspended the distribution of branded items and certain food gifts to doctors (see my post). The ethical argument still […]

Drug companies and doctors

Happy 2009! As promised, I’ll start adding photos to brighten up the page, and maybe illustrate a point at times. This one is a mid-winter tribute to spring.

As you might surmise from past posts, I have long-standing concerns about commercial influence on the practice of medicine generally, and psychiatry in particular. I have two […]