New books about the opioid crisis — “Dopesick,” “Fight for Space” and “American Fix” — have different ideas about who’s to blame and what to do next. Our critic says regulating supply can have deadly consequences, and we need to address users’ pain.
Writing for The Boston Globe, Neil Swidey makes a compelling case for how the rising tide of food allergy fakers may endanger actual sufferers, as restaurants begin to take “allergy” requests less seriously. But his piece is more than just an anti-faker missive, it’s also a fascinating history of food allergies in America, and their place in the restaurant world. […]
The first recorded cases of cancer show how the Ancient Egyptians used cauterisation (using red-hot instruments to burn off tissue and seal off wounds) to destroy tumours and to treat a variety of infections, diseases and bleeding lesions. Until the mid-18th century, surgery was the only effective option for addressing several conditions. But it was […]
The Laidlers’ story is a microcosm of the changing debate over so-called alternative medicine and its cousin, integrative medicine. In 2007, Americans spent $2.9 billion on homeopathic medicine, a treatment based on the belief that minuscule amounts of what causes symptoms in a healthy person will alleviate symptoms in someone who is ill. From nutritional supplements […]
The world’s first experiments with blood transfusion occurred in the mid-1660s in England. The procedure, which was first carried out between dogs, was gruesome: the dogs were tied down, the arteries and veins in their necks opened, and blood transferred from one to another through quills (most likely made from goose feathers) inserted into the […]
The human lapses that occurred after the computerized ordering system and pill-dispensing robots did their jobs perfectly well is a textbook case of English psychologist James Reason’s “Swiss cheese model” of error. Reason’s model holds that all complex organizations harbor many “latent errors,” unsafe conditions that are, in essence, mistakes waiting to happen. They’re like a forest […]
While empathy courses are rarely required in medical training, interest in them is growing, experts say, and programs are underway at Jefferson Medical College and at Columbia University School of Medicine. Columbia has pioneered a program in narrative medicine, which emphasizes the importance of understanding patients’ life stories in providing compassionate care.