Ten Interesting Medical Stories From 2008

Dec 29 2008 - 8:04pm

The end of the year seems to be a time for making list. Best of the year. Worst of the year. Predictions for the coming year. Resolutions for the coming year. So I thought I would share some (not necessarily the best or worst or even in order of importance) of the medical news of 2008 I found interesting. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section.

1. The changes in Health Policy that 2009 may bring

Thousands of forums have been taking place throughout the nation since Dec. 15, and reports are being uploaded to www.Change.gov. According to the Web site, the Health Policy Transition Team will prepare a report for the President-elect using information collected from all across the country.

2. In February, Dr Hootan Roozrokh was accused of hastening a patient's death to harvest the organs.

It's the stuff of horror movies: an evil, deranged surgeon purposely kills people to harvest their organs. In the 1978 movie "Coma," patients were kept in comas and shipped off to a mysterious location where their organs were removed.

In December, he was found innocent of the charge.

"Dr. Hootan Roozrokh was found not guilty after two months of trial and two days of deliberation jury. If the court verdict had been against the doctor, he would have faced up to four years in prison."

3. Dr Michael DeBakey, pioneer of heart procedures, died this year at age 99 years.

"World famous heart surgery specialist Dr. Michael DeBakey who was the heart surgeon operating the Russian president Boris Yeltsin dies at age 99. Dr. DeBakey passed away in the Methodist Hospital in Houston on Friday night. Many world leaders and presidents dotted the list of nearly 60,000 heart surgeries that Dr. Michael DeBakey has performed, including the late American presidents John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, the last Shah of Iran, King Hussein of Jordan and Boris Yeltsin of Russia."

4. November 2008, a Colombian woman, Claudia Castillo, received a trachea transplant using her own stem cells. Doctors in a Barcelona, Spain hospital used her stem cells into a trachea taken from a cadaver. Because the new windpipe is "almost indistinguishable" from the her normal bronchi, her body should not reject the transplant.

5. In March, a little girl was born with facial duplication. The condition usually results in stillbirth, but not always as seen in this recent news report of this little girl born March 11, 2008.


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They are not ashamed of the extraordinary looking little girl, the villagers who live near her, the young parents, the overprotective local doctor. That's because while she may only be 2½ weeks old, she is far more famous than any resident of this part of the country has ever been. She is famous because she was born with a condition known as facial duplication. She has one body and two faces.

6. Healthcare conscience rule and how they may change patient care / access to care.

Women's groups, state governments, and a host of others have reacted harshly to the new conscience rights regulation put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services last week. The National Family and Reproductive Health Association stated that the "new regulations will limit access to contraception to low-income and uninsured women and men and will create new hurdles for family-planning service providers," Deborah Kotz reports. The National Partnership for Women and Families noted, "These regulations leave the term 'abortion' undefined, so individuals and institutions are free to classify birth control as abortion." And the ACLU also expressed its "grave concern."

7. Dr Alan Bittner's office was served with a warrant on Friday, November 14, 2008.


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