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The biggest finding in a new report about the criminal histories of nursing home workers is that the Office of Inspector General can’t say whether seniors and people with disabilities truly are in danger.

 

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Are nursing home workers with criminal records really endangering residents? It's hard to tell from a new inspector general's report.

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Dr. Carl Elliott, a University of Minnesota bioethicist, has spent much of the last two years doggedly pursuing the case of Dan Markingson, a 26-year-old who killed himself during a UM clinical trial meant to prove the superiority of AstraZeneca’s Seroquel over its competitors.

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Dr. Carl Elliott is a brave man. A bioethicist with an MD, Elliott took on powerful interests at his own university on behalf of a woman he barely knew and a patient he could not save.

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Picture a honey sunrise glistening across the Pacific. A wave rises up, lifting a golden surfer, hair flapping in the wind like a flag as he negotiates a perfect turn and glides toward the beach. He steps onto the sand and his smile falls. Among the women in bikinis and men playing volleyball is a horrible scene of human suffering: a throng of senior citizens in wheel chairs, their bellies distended from malnutrition, flies landing on their eyelids, which are too sapped of any strength even to blink them away.

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Fined by the Nevada medical board and ordered to stop performing abortions, Dr. Algis Martell had a decision to make.

As so many doctors do when they make a mess of their primary specialty, Martell decided to get a makeover.

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Dr. Algis Martell found a unique solution to the abortion debate.

According to the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners, he performed abortions on women who were never pregnant and, when they were pregnant, he said he was performing an abortion but did not.

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Health reporters got an unusual amount of mileage out of a study that said that its chief finding was “of unknown clinical significance.” And when these same reporters put on their blogging hats, they went off-road entirely.

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It’s doubtful that so many health journalists would have covered the case of the late Dr. Mel Levine if he had not appeared on Oprah.

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