HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Friday, November 16, 2012

Worth Reading This Week

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Worst Kind of Cautionary Tale

Viral today: a woman living in Ireland died due to physicians' refusal to abort a non-viable fetus.  See reporting here: and here:

To be clear, Dr. Halappanavar was not living in a third world country without access to medical care; she was not at home; she was in the hospital being monitored and seeking help when she died.  She was told that she was living in a Catholic country and could not be helped so long as the fetal heartbeat was detectable.

Not only was this death unjust and unnecessary, the patient's treatment was retrograde and barbaric.  In light of candidates' recent remarks regarding access to abortion, as if pregnancy and childbirth were not medical concerns, this tragedy serves as the worst kind of cautionary tale: women die when this basic and safe medical procedure is unavailable.


November 15, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Data Stewardship

The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics met today at HHS and approved a letter recommending elements of a framework for stewardship of health data used for community health improvement. The Committee has been studying the issue of data outside the coverage of HIPAA or the Common Rule. Important elements of the framework include the fair information practices of purpose specification and accountability. The framework also attends to the special problems raised by deidentification and data aggregation. The letter will be available shortly on the NCVHS web site. [LPF]

November 14, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 12, 2012

"The Suicide Plan"

On Tuesday evening, November 13, PBS will be airing, "The Suicide Plan," an impressive look at underground aid in dying (or assisted suicide). Despite legal prohibitions on aid in dying, patients and their advocates may resort to the practice for relief of suffering. The show illuminates factors that drive people to defy the law, the costs to dying patients and their families when aid in dying is prohibited, and the concerns that observers express about the practice.


November 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)